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Skinner Suspended Three Games for Cross-Checking Guentzel



Jeff Skinner Buffalo Sabres Brian Pochmara

The Pittsburgh Penguins won’t have to contend with Buffalo’s second-leading scorer when the teams meet tonight at 7:08 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena.

Neither will the two teams the Sabres must face after that.

That’s because first-line winger Jeff Skinner, who has 13 goals and 19 assists in 27 games, was suspended for three games today for cross-checking Jake Guentzel in the face during the final minute of regulation in the Penguins’ 4-3 overtime victory at KeyBank Center Friday night.

The suspension will cost Skinner $145,945.95 in salary, with that money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Skinner was upset because Guentzel had tried to poke the puck free after goalie Craig Anderson covered it in the crease, which the NHL’s announcement of Skinner’s suspension characterized as “light contact.”

Skinner was assessed a match penalty, in addition to the slashing minors he and Guentzel received, for delivering that blow, which the NHL’s announcement said landed “directly in the face, with force.”

“Emotions got the best of him,” Buffalo coach Don Granato told reporters after the game.

Jeff Carter scored the game-winning goal at 1:36 of the extra period, during the man-advantage created by Skinner’s match penalty.

Guentzel spent the final 21.3 seconds of the third period in the Penguins’ dressing room, but returned to the game and was serving his slashing penalty when Carter scored.

Skinner and Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin each have 32 points, which puts them nine behind Sabres scoring leader Tage Thompson, but Skinner noses out Dahlin for second place on the team scoring list because of his 13-9 edge in goals.

Those two also are tied for second place among the Sabres in power-play goals, with four each. Thompson again holds the top spot, with nine.

It was not immediately known who will replace Skinner on Buffalo’s top line, with Thompson and Alex Tuch, but his absence will lead a significant void, because he has a six-game points streak and 18 points in the past nine games.

Skinner, who broke into the NHL with Carolina, has nine goals and 11 assists in 49 career games against the Pittsburgh Penguins.