Harry Zolnierczyk had his five-minute major for kneeing Mathieu Perreault and the corresponding game misconduct rescinded by the NHL, a league spokesman confirmed.
The Philadelphia Flyers forward hit the Washington Capitals center with 24.6 seconds left Wednesday night, sparking some pushing and shoving. At first it looked like Zolnierczyk made knee-on-knee contact with Perreault, but replays showed he led with his shoulder and might have made knee-on-thigh or hip contact.
Perreault needed assistance but was walking around fine afterward.
Caps coach Adam Oates took no issue with Zolnierczyk’s hit on Perreault, instead blaming his own player for putting himself in that spot.
“I don’t think it was dirty at all,” Oates said. “Thirty seconds left, the game is over and Matty thought he could stick-handle through the team. It’s not what we do; all of us tonight, guys are sitting there waiting for you, and you get hit.”
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette called it a “good, hard hockey hit.” Caps general manager George McPhee didn’t want to address the hit when asked after the 4-1 loss.
“It just looked like he came across the ice with a ton of speed, Perry cut across the middle and I couldn’t tell if there was anything wrong with it, but it was a hard, solid check,” defenseman Karl Alzner said.
Perreault declined to speak to reporters after the game.
Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was penalized for roughing along with Flyers agitator Zac Rinaldo as part of the ensuing scuffle. Ovechkin said he didn’t see the hit but found it unnecessary.
“I just tell it like 30 seconds left, 4-1 lead, why you have to kill the guy?” Ovechkin said. “It’s no respect.”
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun was first to report the NHL rescinding the penalty, which means Zolnierczyk keeps a clean slate for any disciplinary issues in the future.