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Sam Bennett suspended three games for head hit on Cedric Paquette

The hit forced Paquette to miss the majority of the first period on Saturday afternoon.

Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL’s Departmen of Player Safety has suspended Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett for three games following his hit to the head of Cedric Paquette.

The Montreal Canadiens forwards was escorted from the ice and went through the concussion protocol during the remainder of the opening period. He did return to the game in the second before leaving with what Dominique Ducharme said after the match was a neck injury, not a concussion.

As the schedule currently stands, Bennett will be eligible to return on January 11 versus the Vancouver Canucks, barring any other schedule shifts due to COVID-19. He will forfeit over $160,000 of his salary as part of the punishment.

Bennett had two goals in the game on Sunday, including one early in the third period that broke the game open. No penalty was assessed on the hit by the officials in the game.