Winnipeg Jets center Morgan Barron had to receive more than 75 stitches after taking a skate to the face during Game 1 of the team’s first-round Western Conference series against the Vegas Golden Knights. Barron later returned to the game and contributed to a 5-1 Jets victory.

“I was trying to figure out if the puck went in because it was pretty close,” Barron said after the game. “I saw the skate coming. It was an unlucky play. The first thought was that I could see out of the [right] eye was the main thing.”

Barron suffered the injury with 13:51 remaining in the first period when Vegas goalie Laurent Brossoit sliced the opposing center in the face with his skate during a fight between the teams for a loose puck. He had to go back to the locker room to receive the stitches but returned well before the end of the second period and finished the game.

Barron downplayed the severity of the injury, which teammate Adam Lowry compared to getting “attacked by a shark,” and praised the medical staff for assisting him in the locker room.

“Obviously, it missed my eye,” Barron said. “I was glad it didn’t get me in a real bad spot, but they did a great job fixing me up.”

Barron rejoined a game that the Jets would go on to win in convincing fashion on the road, upsetting the Golden Knights, the top-ranked team in the Pacific Division this year. Winnipeg scored five goals in the final two periods to take a one-game lead in the series. Coach Rick Bowness said after the game that Barron’s return played a part in motivating the team.

“I think more his presence coming back because we all realized how bad it was, and that gave everyone a big boost,” Bowness said.

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