Columbus Blue Jackets rookie defenseman Zach Werenski took a Phil Kessel shot to the face in the second period and, though he returned for part of the third period, he later left and was not available in overtime when the Pittsburgh Penguins scored to take a 5-4 victory and 3-0 first-round playoff series lead.
Werenski, who had scored his first career postseason goal in the first period, was bleeding heavily and struggling to get to the bench after Kessel’s shot opened a gash under Werenski’s right eye.
With the Penguins in control of the puck in the offensive zone, officials did not blow the whistle, which according to the rule book is at their discretion. With the Blue Jackets essentially shorthanded, Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust scored his second goal of the game to tie it at 3-3.
Despite swelling and bruising surrounding the repaired gash under his eye, Werenski returned to play part of the third period before departing for good for the night. He tweeted a photo of himself following the game.
Playoff hockey… pic.twitter.com/4GNoLYVECu
— Zach Werenski (@ZachWerenski) April 17, 2017
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said afterwards it got to the point that Werenski could not see out of the eye.