NHL players are tough. Tough takes on a new meaning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Case in point: Zach Werenski. The Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman took a shot to the face from Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel in the second period of Game 3 of their first-round series. Kessel’s shot rolled up Werenski’s stick and struck right below his eye.
With blood pouring on the ice, Werenski tried to get to the bench. But things got worse: the Penguins, essentially playing with a man advantage, tied up the game at 3-3 on a Bryan Rust tally. The officials did not blow the whistle because the Penguins continued to possess the puck.
Werenski, the Blue Jackets’ star rookie who recorded 47 points in the regular season, also scored his first playoff goal in this game, which gave Columbus a 3-1 lead.
The 19-year-old Werenski returned to the game, because that’s what hockey players do, sporting a full face shield. Werenski, however, did go to the locker room during overtime because the swelling closed his right eye, so the Blue Jackets were forced to play with five defensemen.
The Penguins won 5-4, giving them a 3-0 series lead, and Werenski took to Twitter to show off his battle scar.
Playoff hockey... pic.twitter.com/4GNoLYVECu— Zach Werenski (@ZachWerenski) April 17, 2017