MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban appears to have avoided the worst.
Subban was taken from the ice on a stretcher after he collided with teammate Alexei Emelin in the third period of a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Bell Centre on Thursday.
The Canadiens announced after the game that Subban sustained a neck injury and was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure. He was alert and able to move all of his extremities.
"I went to see him, he was with the doctors," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "I had a good conversation with the doctor and he was able to move his extremities. So that's good news under the circumstances."
Subban and Sabres forward Marcus Foligno were chasing the puck in the corner behind the Canadiens net. Subban lost his balance and while on his knees was hit in the head by Emelin's backside.
"I remember Emelin coming in probably trying to finish a check on me, and P.K., I think he fell down and got in the way," Foligno said. "Scary incident and we hope he's all right."
Subban's head jerked to the right after the contact. He was on the ice for several minutes before medical personnel took him off with 2:26 left in the period. Subban's skates were taped together and his head was immobilized.
The crowd chanted his name as he was taken off the ice, and cameras showed him giving the Canadiens bench a thumbs-up as he went past.
Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty was on the bench at the time of the play and said he didn't see it, but as soon as he saw the stretcher come out he was reminded of an incident he would rather forget.
Almost five years ago to the day, on March 8, 2011, Pacioretty was taken off the ice at Bell Centre on a stretcher after he was hit by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara into a stanchion.
"I've been in that position before and it brings back a lot of tough memories," Pacioretty said. "So it was really hard."
Pacioretty said Subban was communicating with doctors while on the ice, though Pacioretty wouldn't share what he was saying.
The players had to complete the final minutes of a one-goal game after the long delay and found it difficult to concentrate.
"When you see that whole situation, it's just really scary," Pacioretty said. "It's just scary to see that, to see that many trainers on the ice, and doctors. It was tough to play after."
It wasn't only the players who had trouble focusing.
"You're trying to win a hockey game, but you almost felt like you don't want to keep playing at that point in time," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "There's a couple of minutes left in the game, but you're really mostly entirely concerned for the athlete and for the person, and the game's an afterthought."
Subban has played 274 consecutive games and has never missed an NHL regular-season game with an injury. Montreal next plays Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.