NHL fines Panthers' Benett $5K for cross-checking Maple Leafs' Bunting

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NEW YORK — The NHL has fined Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett US$5,000 for cross-checking Toronto forward Michael Bunting in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series.

The incident occurred in the second period of Florida's 3-2 win in Toronto on Thursday night. Bennett cross-checked Bunting in the side of the head in a scrum in front of the Panthers' net and was given a minor penalty.

The fine is the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHL Players' Association.

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Bennett played with a physical edge throughout the game. In the first period, he put Leafs rookie Matthew Knies in a headlock and slammed him to the ice.

Knies did not return for the second period. Bennett did not receive a penalty on the play.

The Panthers lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, with Game 3 set for Sunday in Sunrise, Fla.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2023.

The Canadian Press