While it's hard to imagine Florida being able to derail the Stars' season as they play in a different division and conference altogether, it was Kulikov exclusively that may have ended any hope for the Stars reaching the playoffs tonight. Here's how he did it.
That's a tough call to make on whether it was dirty or not, but it certainly is dangerous. Had that hit occurred along the boards, we might be talking about a solid hip check. However, in open ice, you can see in a couple of the replays that Seguin's knee absorbs the punishment as Kulikov goes low on him. When knees are the focal point of punishment, things usually doesn't get well for the punished.
Regardless of what I think of the hit, there are two unavoidable facts: Seguin will be on the injured list, and Kulikov will get a hearing for this hit. Again, Kulikov didn't have to make this hit, but he did anyway. It's that fact that I believe makes it a reviewable hit, so Kulikov should expect a phone call from the Department of Player Safety in the coming days.
With that hit, though, Kulikov essentially ended any hope of the Dallas Stars making the playoffs as Seguin appears to be seriously hurt in the video above. Seguin is Dallas' leading scorer, an integral part of their offence, and is certainly irreplaceable at this point in the season when the Stars need him most. Without him, it's basically over for 2014-15 for the Stars.
Because I have Seguin on my fantasy hockey team, my chances at catching the leaders are essentially over now as well. Thanks, Dmitri. My run as champion will end at one year with that hit. So much for another cash windfall for me for winning the season's pool.
Kulikov got a five-minute major penalty for clipping and a game misconduct. Dallas gets a higher draft pick than they may have anticipated. That doesn't seem fair, does it?
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!