Getty Images

The Edmonton Oilers will be without defenseman Darnell Nurse for Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. Nurse was automatically suspended one game for instigating a fight with Vegas' Nic Hague in the final five minutes of Game 4 on Wednesday.

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Nurse's suspension, citing rule 46.21, which requires an automatic one-game suspension for any player who instigates a fight with under five minutes remaining in regulation. Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft was also fined $10,000.

Tempers flared between the Oilers and Golden Knights at the end of Game 4. Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo committed an extremely late slash on Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl with just 1:27 remaining in the third period.

Once play resumed, Nurse goaded Hague into a fight as retribution for Pietrangelo's slash on Draisaitl, and that decision will cost the Oilers in a pivotal Game 5. Nurse is a top-four defenseman on Edmonton's blue line, and he has four assists in 10 games this postseason.

Expect Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard to shoulder even more of the defensive load with Nurse out for the next game.

With Nurse's fate automatically decided, there may be more supplementary discipline on the way. In addition to his slashing penalty, Pietrangelo was given a game misconduct, and he had a hearing with the Department of Player Safety on Thursday.

The Oilers won the game, 4-1, to even the series at 2-2 as it shifts back to Las Vegas for Game 5. There is a decent chance that both teams will be without a key defenseman when the puck drops on Friday night.