Rangers’ Peter Laviolette calls Adam Pelech’s collision with Mika Zibanejad ‘vicious’ during Islanders’ win

Mika Zibanejad Rangers
Mika Zibanejad (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)

ELMONT, N.Y. — New York Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette was unhappy with Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech and the officiating on Tuesday night after a collision forced star forward Mika Zibanejad out of the game during the third period of the Blueshirts’ 4-2 loss at UBS Arena.

Both Pelech and Zibanejad were looking at the puck, which was in the Rangers’ zone, from center ice. Zibanejad’s head and upper body collided with Pelech’s shoulder at the 8:41 mark of the third period.

Zibanejad left the game but came back at the very end, though Laviolette continued to seethe after the game.

“He came back at the end from that vicious hit, yeah,” Laviolette said. “That vicious shoulder/elbow to the head. Watch it.”

When asked if he believed it was intentional, Laviolette said, “I do.”

Adam Pelech Islanders
Adam Pelech

Islanders head coach Patrick Roy, who spoke moments after Laviolette, saw things much differently.

“No, it was accidental,” Roy said. “The referee was in a really good position to see it. He saw it. I was more afraid that [Pelech] might get hurt on that one. He’s the one that hit Pelly. It was the opposite, I think what happened… It was totally accidental, there’s no doubt in my mind.

“I think [referee] Kelly Sutherland was in a really good position to see everything and he made it clear right away that it was accidental. But sometimes, frustration makes you say things.”

The Islanders and Rangers do not have to wait long to dispute the collision further. They will square off again on Saturday afternoon, 12:30 p.m. ET, at Madison Square Garden.

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