Late in the third period, MacKinnon and Garland battled into the corner of the Coyotes’ zone. MacKinnon threw Garland to the ice and in the process ripped off Garland’s helmet. Later, as Garland stood against the glass following a brief altercation with Colorado captain Gabe Landeskog, MacKinnon flung the helmet at Garland’s head with an underhand toss.
MacKinnon was given a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct penalty that ended his night.
Arizona coach Rick Tocchet was hoping for more from the referee, even though the Coyotes trailed 8-3 at the time.
“I didn’t see it until I saw the highlights. I thought if you did that you got some kind of … I don’t know if it would have mattered, but maybe get some more minutes on the power play. Keep those guys off the score sheet,” he said.
Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he felt the altercation was born from the Coyotes’ frustration in defeat and that MacKinnon was right to respond to it.
“Nate is a competitive guy. I don’t like seeing him get involved in every scrum, but every once in a while, he doesn’t have a choice, and that might have been the case there,” Bednar said.
Despite the unsportsmanlike play, Bednar was confident that MacKinnon would face only an additional fine, at most, from the NHL.
“I would think that the misconduct would cover it. You see a few instances like that in the past. He might be a little bit lighter in the wallet, maybe, but I would think that would probably be it,” the coach said.
MacKinnon won the 2019-20 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, given annually to “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”