— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 26, 2019
Erik Cernak Suspended
Cernak has been suspended for two games and fined for elbowing the Buffalo Sabres‘ Rasmus Dahlin. As Dahlin cut towards the middle of the ice on a Buffalo power play, Cernak delivered a high elbow directly to Dahlin’s head as he passed the puck away to a teammate. Dahlin fell to the ice, and the Sabres announced post-game that he sustained a concussion.
So far this season, he scored one goal and no assists, playing in 20 games. He also added 21 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 45.9 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -6.3 percent.
Over his two-year NHL career, Cernak has played exclusively for the Lightning. He has put up six goals and 11 assists for 17 career points in 78 career games. He was originally drafted in the second round, 43rd overall of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings.
What This Means for the Future
Cernak has performed worse than last season after a decently solid rookie campaign, but he’s still a part of a strong Tampa Bay blue line. His shutdown game allows offensive opportunities to open up for other Tampa defencemen, most namely his partner Ryan McDonagh. He’s large and strong and has a bit of a physical streak, something that got him into a bit of trouble here.
Tampa’s next two games will see increased responsibility from Luke Schenn and Braydon Coburn to help solidify their defensive presence. Their next two games are against the last two Stanley Cup champions; they play the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night at home and then have a Friday night tilt against the Washington Capitals in the District of Columbia.
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