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Bruins’ Zac Rinaldo suspended for hit on Lightning player

Zac Rinaldo was assigned to the AHL’s Providence Bruins on Monday.AP

Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo, who was assigned to the AHL’s Providence Bruins on Monday, was suspended five games for a hit Sunday on the Lightning’s Cedric Paquette.

The NHL announced the punishment Tuesday, and said Rinaldo’s history was a factor in the length of suspension.

“This is an illegal check to the head. While we accept Rinaldo’s argument that he is attempting to deliver a legal, full-body check on this play, Rinaldo mis-times the hit, leading to him taking an angle of approach that makes Paquette’s head the main point of contact,” the NHL’s player safety department explained in a video on NHL.com.


The decision brings Rinaldo’s career suspension count to 19 games. He was suspended eight games in January of 2015 for charging and boarding Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, and he narrowly avoided being suspended this season with the Bruins for a hit on Sean Couturier on Oct. 21 in an overtime loss to the Flyers. Couturier suffered a concussion on the hit, on which Rinaldo was hit with a major penalty for charging.

While with the Flyers — Rinaldo’s previous team — the fourth liner was suspended three separate times for a total of 14 games, including that eight-game suspension.

He must serve the latest suspension in the NHL, although the AHL could decide to honor it as well.

Amalie Benjamin of the Globe staff contribuuted to this report.