New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston was suspended three games Friday for an illegal check to the head on New Jersey Devils forward A.J. Greer.
Johnston delivered the hit in the offensive zone late in the first period of the Islanders' 3-2 win over the Devils on Thursday at Elmont, N.Y. He was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for the check.
Johnston had a hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Friday before the discipline was handed down. In an explanation video, a player safety official noted that Greer's head was the main point of contact and that the check was avoidable.
"At issue with this play is Johnston's angle of approach," the official said. "While hits from the side are not illegal, they can be difficult to execute legally, and on this play Johnston chooses an angle that ends in Greer's head being the main point of contact."
Greer returned to the game after the hit. He exited midway through the third period with an undisclosed injury.
Johnston received the hefty suspension despite having no prior disciplinary history with the NHL. He is scheduled to miss the Islanders' upcoming home game against the Washington Capitals followed by a home-and-home split with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Johnston, 27, has two assists in nine games this season. He has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 95 career games with the Islanders.
--Field Level Media