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Avs’ MacDonald gets 2-game ban for hit to head vs. Wild

NEW YORK — Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jacob MacDonald was suspended Thursday for two games without pay for an illegal check to the head on Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman.

The NHL’s department of player safety said the contact was avoidable for MacDonald, who approached Hartman on a back check and knocked him to the ice with a sideswipe hit in the first period of the game Wednesday at Minnesota.

The play went unpenalized, drawing boos from the limited crowd at Xcel Energy Center as the replay was shown on the videoboard. MacDonald pointed to his shoulder as he watched it, appearing to claim he clipped Hartman there and not on his head.

MacDonald has one goal, six assists and a plus-13 rating in 27 games this season. He will forfeit $12,500, based on his average annual salary.