Leafs Michael Bunting Suspended 3 Games For Trying To Remove Erik Cernak’s Head

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Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michale Bunting will miss three games after being a dealt suspension for delivering a check to Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak’s head,

It happened late in the second period with Bunting’s Leafs trailing 4-2.

I think that’s a tough one to argue. Three games may be a little severe; especially in the playoffs. Having said that, that’s an unnecessary hit on a guy who wasn’t even in the same zip code as the puck.

Bunting was given a match penalty and the Lightning scored twice on the ensuing power play. That included one goal on a 5-on-3 that was the result of a failed challenge on the first goal.

In short, the hit set off a domino effect that guaranteed the Leafs would drop the first game at home.

Michael Bunting
The Leafs losing Michael Bunting is far from back-breaking, but having him around would help. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Bunting’s Penchant For Drawing Penalties Will Be Missed By The Leafs

Bunting is a player who toes the line between old-time hockey and “Oh my god, dude! What the hell are you thinking?!”

He scored 23 goals and 26 assists for 49 points in 82 games this season. However, the Leafs may miss something else he does the most.

Bunting was tied with Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres for the league lead in penalties drawn this season. He goaded — of all people — Erik Cernak into a roughing penalty in the second period that led to a power play goal. 2 of the 3 goals the Leafs scored on Tuesday night came on power plays.

His ability to get under peoples’ skin is useful. Nazem Kadri used to be the Leafs’ go-to guy in this department. To this point, he racked up a lot of suspensions too.

Losing Bunting — especially on an easily avoidable play like this — is a problem, but not an insurmountable one. Especially if goaltending, shot selection, and play in front of their own net improves.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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