Kyle Clifford hits Vladimir Tarasenko (via Sportsnet/YouTube)
Vladimir Tarasenko learned the hard way to watch out for Kyle Clifford. After Tarasenko shot a loose puck on net, he was absolutely walloped by Clifford and sent flying into the boards.
St. Louis Blues right winger Vladimir Tarasenko is the type of player who isn’t often seen getting dropped with a big hit. He’s big, strong and moves around the ice so well that he’s hard enough to catch, let alone get body contact on. But Los Angeles Kings left winger Kyle Clifford caught up to Tarasenko Thursday night and Clifford made up for all those checks others may have missed.
Late in the second period, Tarasenko was following up on a rush when he took a pass in the middle of the ice from Paul Stastny. Tarasenko found some space and rocketed a wrist shot off the post, which created a scramble at the side of the Kings’ crease. Tarasenko followed his shot, located the puck and fired another puck on goal — and he did all of this only a split second before he was absolutely run over by Clifford:
Clifford, as you likely could have guessed, was forced to drop the gloves after laying out the Blues’ star winger, and St. Louis defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was the one to come at Clifford. The two tussled for a moment before falling to the ice, and it was Bortuzzo, not Clifford, who drew the extra minor penalty for roughing.
Luckily, the result of the play was just a big, clean hit by Clifford. Tarasenko was no worse for wear, played more than seven minutes in the third period and was on ice for nearly 20 minutes total in the game.