Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes and Zach Hyman of the Edmonton Oilers are giving new meaning to the word “faceoff.”
Both were hit in the face by a puck on Tuesday night, and each played an indirect role in goals.
Aho was bloodied after being struck near the mouth by a shot from near the blue line by Pierre Engvall of the visiting Islanders. As the puck was falling to the ice, New York's Brock Nelson swatted it out of the air and past Carolina goalie Antti Raanta for the first goal in an eventual 3-2 New York win over the Hurricanes in Game 5 of the teams' first-round playoff series.
“Unfortunate it hits a guy in the face," Nelson said. "For me it was nice, it was right there and I was able to get a stick on it in the air and go in.”
Aho eventually skated back to the bench while doubled over, then straight to the locker room. He returned midway through the period after getting stitches and eventually scored for Carolina.
“I just kind of didn’t know what hit me,” Aho said. “It came pretty quickly there. Obviously the guy was probably not aiming for my face either. Yeah, it’s hockey, it happens.”
Hyman picked up a point on his play in Game 5 of host Edmonton's series against Los Angeles when a fluttering slap shot by teammate Evan Bouchard struck him on the left side of his face — also near his mouth — and ricocheted past Kings goalie Pheonix Copley.
Hyman was the hero for Edmonton in Game 4, scoring in overtime to knot the first-round series at two games apiece.