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NHL playoffs: Canadiens' Jake Evans stretchered off ice after scoring goal

June 3 (UPI) -- Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans took a vicious hit while scoring a goal in Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets. Evans was taken off the ice on a stretcher in the last minute of the win.

Evans chased down a loose puck behind the Jets net with about 58 seconds left in the game Wednesday at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said Evans was not taken to the hospital. Sources told Sportsnet that he returned to the team hotel Wednesday night and was "doing fine."

Evans gained control of the puck and wrapped a shot around the right post, but was clobbered by Jets forward Mark Scheifele in the process. Scheifele left his feet to deliver the brutal blow to Evans' upper body.

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Evans laid motionless on the ice for a brief period. A scuffle between the teams ensued as trainers ran to the area. They put the Canadiens forward on a stretcher and wheeled him off the ice.

Scheifele received a 5-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit.

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"It was a dirty hit, but the league is going to take care of it," Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson told reporters. "If [Scheifele] gets back in the series, we're going to make his life miserable."

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Scheifele did not speak to reporters after the game, but his teammates said they "hope [Evans] is OK."

"Hopefully he'll be alright," Jets coach Paul Maurice told reporters. "It's such a highly-unusual play because when you are back checking back to kill an empty-net play, you are coming full speed. Mark [Scheifele] stopped skating and kept his arm in. It's a heavy, heavy hit, there is no doubt about that.

"I'm sure the league will have its opinion [for potential discipline]."

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Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Eric Staal, Nick Suzuki and Brendan Gallagher also scored in the 5-3 victory. Adam Lowry, Derek Forbort and Kyle Connor scored for the Jets.

The Canadiens face the Jets in Game 2 of the second-round series at 7:30 p.m. EDT Friday in Winnipeg.

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