Sabres' Jeff Skinner banned 3 for Jake Guentzel cross-check

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner was suspended three games by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Saturday for cross-checking Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel in the face on Friday night.

The incident occurred at 19:38 of the third period. Skinner was assessed a match penalty. Both players also received slashing minors. Pittsburgh won the game 4-3 in overtime on a goal scored on the ensuing power play.

Skinner will forfeit $145,945.95 in salary.

The sequence began when Guentzel made what the NHL called "light contact" with goaltender Craig Anderson, who had covered the puck. Skinner skated over to Guentzel and jabbed his stick in the Penguins winger's side. The players then exchanged slashes before Skinner delivered a cross-check to Guentzel's shoulder and then another forceful one that targeted Guentzel's face.

"It's important to note that this is not a case of a stick riding up unintentionally," said the department of player safety. "Skinner initiates an altercation here that ends with him aggressively and purposefully striking an opponent in the face with his stick."

This is Skinner's second suspension of his 13-year NHL career. He was banned for two games in 2012 while with the Carolina Hurricanes, for kicking St. Louis Blues forward Scott Nichol during a game.

This is the eighth suspension in the NHL this season and the sixth stick-related ban. There were 11 player safety suspensions by this time last season.