Things are starting to get ugly in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
We got some fantastic action in the first period and we were even treated to a rather excellent fight between Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn, but all of that came off the heels of relatively clean hits and relatively clean plays from both teams. It seems however that with the Capitals beginning to take over this game that frustration may be getting the better of the Tampa Bay Lightning players.
The Capitals went into the locker room in the second period with a 3 - 0 lead over the Lightning thanks to a very early goal from Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and 2 more courtesy of Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky, who was gifted a pair of terrific chances, but they also went to the locker room down a player on their bench. That's because veteran Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik was the victim of a rather questionable hit from Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Pacquette, a hit that sent Orpik face first into the corner boards.
Orpik was attempting to make a puck on the play in his own zone when Paquette drilled him from behind, seemingly with no concern for the well being of Orpik who clearly had his back turned to Pacquette at the time. Despite the fact that it appears that Pacquette saw Orpik's numbers all the way he decided to drive through with a big hit anyways, resulting in an injury to the well respected Capitals defenseman. At 37 years old you hate to see a guy take that kind of ugly hit.
Unsurprisingly Orpik was rocked on the play and he stayed down on the ice for several minutes before eventually getting back to his feet with the help of two of his teammates as well as a member of the Capitals training staff. Despite getting back up though it did not look good for Orpik who was unable to leave the ice under his own power, instead leaning on two teammates who helped carry him off the ice.
No word yet on whether or not he may return to the game.