The Rangers captain — who has previously been at the forefront of many dangerous collisions — put himself under the microscope again with a devastating hit on the star forward, and it could’ve easily led to a scary injury.
With New York trailing 2-0 early in the third period, Meier entered the offensive zone with possession and attempted to avoid multiple stick checks upon crossing the blue line. In doing so, however, his head and body were angled toward the ice surface, leaving himself defenseless.
Trouba, determined to break up the play, put his shoulder down and forcibly collided with Meier’s head. The Devils forward fell to the ice and remained there for several moments before heading to the dressing room.
Jacob Trouba sends Timo Meier to the Devils dressing room with an open ice hit. pic.twitter.com/sRmGAegROP
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 2, 2023
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) May 2, 2023
New Jersey, already on the power play, demanded to receive a 5-on-3 man advantage, but no penalty was assessed.
Much of the hockey world was split on whether officials made the right call. According to the rule book, though, the on-ice crew made the correct decision, as Meier’s body position contributed to the head contact from Trouba.
Rangers' Trouba hit on Devils' Meier ruled legal. Head contact may be permitted if unavoidable or if player's body position contributed to the contact - which, with Meier bent over, leaning forward, did on this play. #NYRvsNJD pic.twitter.com/uuXrnlNYzy
— Scouting The Refs (@ScoutingTheRefs) May 2, 2023
Meier briefly left the game but did return to watch the Devils finish off a 4-0 series-clinching victory, advancing them to a second-round matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes.
There didn’t appear to be any hard feelings between Trouba and Meier in the post-game handshake line. Instead, both players seemingly hashed things out and shared a few shoulder taps.
Awesome to see this from Meier and Trouba in the handshake line after that brutal hit pic.twitter.com/DAb9t2ujrg
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 2, 2023
Devils head coach Lindy Ruff didn't provide an update on Meier’s condition after the game.
While Meier wasn’t upset on this occasion, others have criticized Trouba’s dangerous play in the past, namely Chicago’s Andreas Athanasiou, who called him an “$8-million man with zero goals” during the regular season.
Trouba was also involved in a controversial collision with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in last year’s playoffs, which sidelined No. 87 for the remainder of that series. He has also thrown high-profile checks on the likes of Nathan MacKinnon and Jujhar Khaira over the years, as well.
The 29-year-old concludes the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs with zero points in seven games, though he dished out 34 hits during the Devils series. He scored eight goals and 30 points across 82 regular-season games, averaging 21:22 of ice-time per night.