The Montreal Canadiens tapped heads with Carey Price as they staved off elimination on Wednesday night, but it was forward Nick Suzuki’s love tap that had the hockey world talking.
Besides scoring the game-winning goal late in the third period and allowing the Habs to keep their playoff hopes alive, Suzuki was on the ice for a big goal which resulted in a rare opposing goalie head tap.
Joel Armia’s second goal of the game tied it up halfway through the second period and Suzuki reacted to the big-time moment by tapping Flyers goaltender Carter Hart on the head.
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According to TSN’s John Lu, Suzuki admitted after the game that he “wasn’t really thinking, I was excited by the goal.” The 21-year-old forward said he “saw it in the replay and thought ‘I shouldn’t have done that,'” adding it was an unintentional reaction.
For the record, Suzuki and Hart are former World Junior teammates, having had played together for Team Canada the 2019 tournament.
Sportnet analyst Kelly Hrudey thought Suzuki’s head tap was “disappointing” and thought the young forward should have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Kelly Hrudey on Nick Suzuki’s head pat on Carter Hart after they scored.
Chill out… 🤦🏼♂️ #GoHabsGo #AnytimeAnywhere pic.twitter.com/uT1PKNELu4
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) August 20, 2020
Head patting aside, the Canadiens won 5-3 in part to Suzuki’s two points (1G, 1A) and were the only team facing elimination on Wednesday night to survive as three other NHL teams advanced to the conference semifinals.
The Habs and the head-tapping Suzuki take on the Flyers in Game 6 on Friday at a time that is to be determined.
ICYMI: Stayin’ alive.#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/ZHnmTBdt55
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) August 20, 2020