Kris Letang levels Marcus Johansson with high hit

The tone has been set early in the second-round series between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

There is already one suspension in the books and another may not be far behind after Penguins defenceman Kris Letang levelled Capitals forward Marcus Johansson in Game 3 on Monday night.

With less than five minutes remaining in the first period, Letang laid out a high hit as Johansson entered Pittsburgh's zone.

After some discussion between the officials, Letang was given a two-minute minor for interference, while Johansson was helped off the ice.

Letang was to have a hearing with the NHL on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET.

The controversial play quickly drew comparisons online to that of Washington defenceman Brooks Orpik's head shot to Olli Maatta in Game 2 on Saturday, for which Orpik received a three-game suspension. Orpik served his first game Monday night. 

While Maatta has yet to return to the series, Johansson was back to start the second period. Pittsburgh won the match 3-2, gaining a 2-1 series lead over Washington. 

"I didn't see him [Letang] coming, he came from the blind side. I just looked at it, I mean, he obviously lifted his feet and hit me in the head," Johansson said. "That's the kinds of plays you want out of the league."

Johansson also said that he was cleared of a potential concussion and that he believes Letang should receive a suspension for the hit. 

Letang had an assist on Tom Kuhnhackl's first-period goal and registered a team-high 27 minutes 57 seconds of ice time. 

"It's the playoffs. It's a lot more physical than the regular season," Letang said. "I saw him coming full speed I tried to step up in the middle. Things happen fast." 

Letang has only been suspended once before, two games for boarding in 2011.

"He [Letang] is very valuable. You see the minutes he plays, both sides – offensively and defensively," Sidney Crosby said. "We'll see what happens, but we don't have to think about that now."