The incident happened near the end of the second period, when Bunting hit Cernak in the head with an elbow. Cernak was helped to the locker room as Bunting was assessed a match penalty, giving the Lightning a five-minute power play. They went on to score two goals.
The Lightning are now down two of their top defencemen as Victor Hedman went to the locker room early in the second period, with no word on whether he is returning. They are also without Michael Eyssimont and only have 10 skaters on the bench.
Bunting, 27, scored 23 goals and 49 points in 82 games this season, also accruing 103 PIMs. In last year’s Round 1 matchup against the Lightning, Bunting scored one goal and notched three points in six games for the Maple Leafs.
The Lightning went on to win the game 7-3. Game 2 is Thursday night on Sportsnet and SN NOW.