Star Mathew Barzal ejected from loss for cross check as New York Islanders begin to unravel

TAMPA, Fla. — New York Islanders star Mathew Barzal was ejected from Game 5 of their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning after a cross-check to the face of defenseman Jan Rutta.

It was one of several scrums throughout the game Monday night, as tempers boiled over in the Lightning’s 8-0 victory.

But Barzal’s was the most noteworthy. At the end of the second period, Rutta and Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau battled in front of the Tampa Bay net, with Rutta delivering a series of cross-checks. As Rutta skated to the bench, Barzal engaged with him, delivering a cross-check to his shoulder and then one that appeared to strike Rutta across the face.

Rutta dropped to the ice with Barzal on top of him as the buzzer sounded to end the second period. The referees called Barzal for a five-minute major and a game misconduct, and reviewed the play to confirm the call.

Rutta did not return for the third period.

It was the first major penalty of Barzal’s career in either the regular season or the playoffs. Barzal is one of the Islanders’ leading scorers in the playoffs, with six goals and six assists in 16 games.