Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin suffered a huge blow from Florida Panthers centre Sam Bennett at the start of their Game 4 elimination match and did not return, which set the tone for what ended up as the final game of their season.
Sam Bennett severely hit Jaccob Slavin 41 seconds into the match. The Hurricanes' defenseman was in clear pain. He even fell over as he was making his way back to the bench. Slavin headed immediately to the tunnel due to the blow he endured. He only made it through because a trainer helped him skate on his way.
Sam Bennett with a hit behind the net on Jaccob Slavin
Slavin was escorted to the locker room by a trainer pic.twitter.com/qEaKDK52EL
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) May 25, 2023
Jaccob Slavin said he was okay after the loss to the Panthers. He was seen eating a pizza while he confirmed that he gave his thoughts about the hit being clean. However, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour suspects that Slavin may have suffered a concussion, per Tom Gulitti of NHL.com.
The hit against the 6-foot-2 Hurricanes player did not warrant an ejection. The Panthers were given minor penalties for the play. Brent Burns, Jordan Martinook, and Matthew Tchakuk were all given the said penalties after the whistle.
Jaccob Slavin's early exit in Game 4 would prove to be crucial. With his notable absence for the remainder of the game, the Panthers took over and sweep the Hurricanes to win the series. Slavin had seven goals along with 20 assists in the 76 games he played.
The Hurricanes controlled 59% of the expected goals at five-on-five when Slavin was in play. His absence due to the intense hit delivered by Sam Benett was unfortunate for the Hurricanes despite it being legal. Jaccob Slavin will have a long time to recover as his team enters the off-season.