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NHL player hit with a slapshot in face gets 36 stitches then returns to score game-winning goal

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Late ’90s one-hit wonders Chumbawamba only got it half right. It’s true when you get knocked down, you get up again. But in the case of Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert, you also get 36 stitches, return to the game, then proceed to score the game-winning goal as if you didn’t just get hit in the face with a slap shot.

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Yes, this is sports drama at its finest. And also maybe its bloodiest.


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The errant slap shot came off the stick of New York Rangers player Nick Holden midway through the second period during Friday night’s game. Calvert immediately hits the ice, which turns to red pretty quickly.

Calvert didn’t remain on the ground for long, however. Perhaps a testament to the routine punishment hockey players take each night, he held a towel against the gash in his face, got up and skated away on his own.

Those who thought that would end Calvert’s night, however, were in for a surprise come third period when the 26-year-old reappeared. Fresh out of the trainer’s room with 36 stitches in his forehead — as well as clearance of NHL’s concussion protocol, Columbus Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline tweeted — Calvert didn’t just come back out to watch. He came to play and he did, scoring the decisive goal to put the Blue Jackets up, 4-2, against the Rangers and cement their victory.



“You can’t script it any better than (Calvert) coming back and scoring the winner for us,” Calvert’s teammate Sam Gagner told the Dispatch. “That’s an unbelievable teammate, and it gives every guy on the bench a huge boost when he comes back.”

The only person upset with the way the night went down?

“I don’t think my wife is going to be too happy with this scar,” Calvert said. “It’s a bit of a big one.”

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