Jets coach Maurice defends Scheifele after big hit on Canadiens' Evans

Jake Evans scored the empty net goal but took a massive hit from Mark Scheifele, and had to be stretchered off the ice at the end of Game 1 between the Canadiens and Jets.

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice feels Jets forward Mark Scheifele's crushing hit on Jake Evans of the Montreal Canadiens was "clean."

Maurice says it was a "heavy, heavy" hit by Scheifele on Evans after he scored an empty-net goal in the final minute of the opener of the teams' playoff series on Wednesday.

But Maurice argues it wasn't dirty, saying Scheifele's feet were on the ice and his arms were tucked in.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety was scheduled to have a hearing with Scheifele on Thursday.

Because it is not an in-person hearing, the NHL's Department of Player Safety regulations say any suspension will be for a maximum of five games.

The Habs won 5-3 on Wednesday and carry a 1-0 lead into Friday's Game 2 in Winnipeg.

Scheifele was assessed a major for charging and a game misconduct. The Montreal player had just come around the empty net and scored with 57 seconds left.

Evans, a 25-year-old from Toronto, flew to the ice banging his head, and was carried off on a stretcher.

Montreal interim head coach Dominique Ducharme called the hit "vicious" and "useless."

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