Evan Rodrigues of the Florida Panthers lays on the ground...

Evan Rodrigues of the Florida Panthers lays on the ground after being hit by Jacob Trouba (not pictured) of the Rangers during the second period in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amerant Bank Arena on Sunday in Sunrise, Fla. Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

SUNRISE, Fla. — Rangers captain Jacob Trouba was fined $5,000 by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Monday for elbowing Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues late in the second period of the Rangers’ 5-4 overtime victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final on Sunday.

“Take the hat, pass it around,’’ Panthers coach Paul Maurice said sarcastically at Florida’s practice on Monday. “Poor lad. Poor Jake. Won’t be able to eat.’’

Trouba didn’t have much to say after the Rangers’ optional practice at Amerant Bank Arena when asked what he thought about the league’s decision.

“Nothing,’’ he said. “We won Game 3. Move on to Game 4. I don’t really make much of it.’’

The play occurred at 17:35 of the second period with a delayed penalty against Trouba for a slash on Sam Bennett already in effect. Rodrigues cut to the middle past Trouba, who had to lunge at him as he went by. Trouba got an elbow up and made contact as Rodrigues fell to the ice, holding his face.

The officials initially called a major penalty, which allowed them to automatically review the play. After video review, it was deemed to be only a minor penalty, but Trouba, the Rangers’ No. 1 penalty-killing defenseman, still had to serve four minutes for the slash and the elbow.

Trouba said he didn’t think the penalty would be a five-minute major but added that he couldn’t help but be concerned.

“I guess any time they review it, you don’t really know what’s going to happen,’’ he said. “I didn’t think it was anything that crazy. But yeah, I guess you’re always somewhat concerned. You don’t want to take a major penalty.’’

The Rangers managed to kill off the four-minute power play and even scored a shorthanded goal, their fifth of the playoffs.

Because Rodrigues was able to play his next shift less than a minute after the hit, Trouba was asked if he thought there might have been some embellishment on the Panthers forward’s part.

“I don’t know,’’ he said. “No comment.’’

Trouba was assessed three minor penalties in Game 3, including a holding call late in the third period that gave the Panthers a power play with the score tied at 4.

Rangers coach Peter Laviolette was asked if he needs Trouba to be more careful or if he wants the hard-hitting defenseman to continue to play with an edge.

“Listen, we need that physical presence,’’ Laviolette said. “That’s something that he brings, and he brings it all the time. We’re in a physical series right now, so we need guys playing hard and playing physical. And he’s somebody that we can count on to do that.’’

Laviolette went on to say he doesn’t agree with all of the penalty calls against Trouba, without saying whether the hit on Rodrigues was one of the ones he disagreed with.

The Rangers were called for six minor penalties in the game, giving Florida six power-play chances. The Panthers scored on two of the first three but the Rangers killed the final three — all while Trouba was in the box.

The Rangers were credited with 32 hits to Florida’s 33 on Sunday.

Like Laviolette, Trouba was asked if the Rangers need to continue to play as physically as they have been or if they should be a little more careful in an attempt to stay out of the penalty box.

“We have to play physical, but we definitely don’t want to be taking six penalties,’’ he said. “They’ve got a good power play. So yeah, discipline definitely is something we’re going to have to be better at — I’m gonna have to be better at. But we’re definitely going to play a hard, physical game. That’s part of what makes our team good.”

Kakko speaks on scratch

Forward Kaapo Kakko, who was scratched from Game 2 in favor of Matt Rempe but reinserted in the lineup for Game 3 to replace the injured Jimmy Vesey, said he was disappointed about not playing.

“You want to play all the games, so . . . I didn’t like that. That’s all,’’ he said.

Asked what his mindset was going into Game 3, Kakko said, “I think it was the same as every game: Try my best, you know? That’s what I try to do every game.’’

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