The Minnesota Wild defeated the St. Louis Blues Thursday night 4-2 to really scramble up the playoff seeding in the Western Conference. The two points on the line were important, but Mike Rupp‘s devastating hit on T.J. Oshie could completely alter the fate of the Blues.
Rupp, 34, who is known for his fighting ability and physical play more than his actual skill set, has never been suspended by the NHL and doesn’t have a rep as a dirty player. He’s known as a tough guy, but not a guy that will headhunt or throw cheap shots.
The play that injured Oshie is kind of awkward when you first watch it. Oshie leaves the puck for his defenseman as he comes up the boards and keeps his head turned towards his pass (don’t ever do that, kids), which is when Rupp leaves his man and plows through Oshie with his shoulder. Oshie laid on the ice seemingly motionless, but thankfully he was eventually able to skate off on his own will. Rupp was given a match penalty and was ejected from the game.
It’ll be interesting to see the ruling that the league makes on Rupp. It doesn’t appear that he targeted the head or left his feet, but it is substantially late and I would expect Rupp to be suspended for the rest of the regular season.
If the Blues lose Oshie for an extended period of time however, they’re in deep trouble. They have now lost four in a row and do not look like the team that was being heralded just a few weeks ago as the best team in the Western Conference. If the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Vancouver Canucks later on Thursday night, the Blues will fall to second place in the Central Division, something which appeared nearly impossible at the end of March.