Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Evans leaves Game 1 on stretcher after hard hit by Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele

Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans was taken off the ice on a stretcher following a hard hit from Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele in the final seconds of Wednesday night’s second-round playoff series opener.

With 56.9 seconds remaining in Montreal’s 5-3 Game 1 victory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Evans scored an empty-net goal on a wrap-around from behind the Jets’ net. As he did, Scheifele skated into him at full speed, with his right arm tucked to his body, and collided with Evans.

The Canadiens forward fell hard to the ice, with the right side of his head hitting first. Evans dropped his stick and remained down as Winnipeg and Montreal players tangled around him.

Evans left the ice on a stretcher about eight minutes later, giving a thumbs-up sign. Scheifele was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.

Evans, 24, had found a spot in the Montreal lineup during the playoffs as a winger with center Phillip Danault and winger Brendan Gallagher, a trio that played a vital role in the Canadiens’ upset win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. Montreal overcame a 3-1 series deficit and eliminated the Maple Leafs on Monday night in Game 7.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in Winnipeg.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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