The National Hockey League has suspended the Philadelphia Flyers' leading scorer Claude Giroux one game for his illegal hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus.
Canada's Giroux will miss game five Tuesday of the best-of-seven second round playoff series that the Devils lead three games to one.
The suspension leaves the Flyers in a must-win situation without their top player, who leads all NHLers in playoff scoring with eight goals and 17 points in 10 post-season games.
Giroux finished with 93 points in 77 games as he sought the NHL regular season scoring title. He ended in third place behind Evgeni Malkin (109) and Steven Stamkos (97).
Giroux blindsided Zubrus, of Lithuania, with a shoulder to head in the second period of the Devils' 4-2 victory on Sunday. Zubrus, a former first round draft pick of the Flyers, was not seriously hurt and finished with two goals in the game.
"After pulling even with Zubrus on the backcheck... Giroux comes across Zubrus's body and drives upward with his shoulder making principle point of contact with Zubrus's head," said NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said.
Giroux was given a minor penalty by the officials and the suspension was handed out by the league's head office after a video review.