If you had any doubts about how badly Devante Smith-Pelly wants to win a Stanley Cup Championship this video will likely cure you of that misconception. That being said though this one is not for the feint of heart and it's a little hard to watch when you think of what might be happening to the man's spine or brain as this play unfolds.
On Tuesday night the Lightning and Capitals faced off in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, a game that would determine who would advance to the Stanley Cup Final to face surprising upstarts the Las Vegas Golden Knights. There was a ton on the line for both teams but it was the Washington Capitals who came out strong earlier with superstar forward Alex Ovechkin recording a goal with over just a minute played in the very first period. It wasn't just Ovechkin thoughwho was stepping up his game on the big stage, although he will likely get a lot of the credit should the Capitals hang on and win this game.
In what has to be one of the highlights of the first period Smith-Pelly did exactly what fans expect from role players like him at this time of year, he put his body and his health on the line to make a huge play for his team and his teammates. Smith-Pelly dove in front of a shot from the point, and as he turned his face away from the incoming shot he exposed the vulnerable space behind his head and neck and that just so happens to be where the puck ended up striking him.
Smith-Pelly lay flat on the ice for several seconds before eventually attempting to get back to his feet, and even when he did manage that feat he remained hunched over all the way to the back of the Capitals locker room. Initially it was unclear how badly injured Smith-Pelly had been on the play but thankfully this turned out to be not too serious.
Smith-Pelly would eventually return to the game, although you wonder if the NHL had him go through their concussion protocol before letting him back out onto the ice.