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Sharks’ Evander Kane suspended one game by NHL for hit to the head

San Jose left wing Evander Kane was suspended for Game 2 of the Sharks’ second-round playoff series against the Golden Knights on Saturday as the result of his cross-check to the head of Vegas’ Pierre-Edouard Bellemare during a stoppage early in the third period of the teams’ opener Thursday at T-Mobile Arena.

The ruling was announced Friday afternoon by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety following a telephone hearing with Kane.

Kane, who’s tied for third among San Jose’s playoff scorers four points, including a team-high three goals, was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct after the play occurred, at 3:25 of the third period of the Golden Knights’ 7-0 rout. The one-game suspension was added after review by the DPS, which released a video explaining its decision.

“The cross-check occurred well after the whistle is blown and serves no purpose other than as a strike to an opponent’s head,” the DPS said. “This is not a hockey play.”

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The DPS also discounted Kane’s statement that he did not intend to cross-check Bellemare and noted that Kane delivered two cross-checks in the encounter, one to Bellemare’s arm and the second to Bellemare’s face. Bellemare’s face was cut by the blow.

Kane had been suspended once in his 574-game career.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said before the suspension was levied that replacing Kane would not be a major adjustment. “It’s difficult but it’s not,” DeBoer said. “It’s like an injury. If he’s out, then next man up. We’ll just get somebody else in there. It doesn’t change our preparation.”

However, Kane will not be replaced by veteran Joe Thornton, who is recovering from knee surgery and participated in practice Friday. DeBoer ruled out Thornton for Game 2

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