The Bruins and Senators and first and second in the Northeast division and entered the night second and third in the NHL in fighting majors. A close and literally hard-fought game was expected, and played.
Shortly after the first goal of the game, scored by Boston, Chris Neil and Shawn Thornton fought for the fourth time (three times in the NHL). Given the games these two teams have played, it's almost surprising they haven't fought more. It was a good fight, Thornton appeared to get the best of the exchange. They had a hell of a battle in 2009 as well.
Minutes later FM leader Zenon Konopka took on Adam McQuaid. It was another good fight and one that tilted in Boston's favor. This was the third time McQuaid has fought Konopka, his most frequent opponent in the NHL so far.
After almost a week off thanks to the All-Star break, the NHL had almost a full slate of games Tuesday night. There were seven other fights from the night with five coming from the Columbus-San Jose game.
Jared Boll and Jim Vandermeer had a pair of fights. Infrequent fighters Derick Brassard and Dan Boyle went at it, and Derek Dorsett took on Colin White while Fedor Tyutin fought Justin Braun. It was Braun's first NHL fight.
Four out of the five fights happened in the third period with the score being 5-0 or 6-0 in the Sharks favor.
The Bruins got off to a quick start. Patrice Bergeron scored less than a minute into the game. Only 34 seconds later Milan Lucic dropped the gloves against Tom Sestito. No comparison on the scoresheet, but an even match-up in size, Lucic landed some good rights mid-fight.
Mid-way through the first period Brayden Schenn landed a big hit on Steve Kampfer. As Kampfer was still attempting to get back on his feet, Chris Kelly challenged Schenn. The fight, consisting mostly of jersey-jabs, was a fairly even one. It was Schenn's first regular season NHL fight.
Lucic scored at the 12:30 mark of the first to put the Bruins up 3-1.
The second period was all Flyers. After Scott Hartnell's second goal that tied up the game, Shawn Thornton and Jody Shelley fought for the fourth time in the NHL. It was a good fight, and once again, fairly even. Hartnell capped off the period with another goal, with less than a minute left, completing his natural hat trick and putting the Flyers up by one.
It didn't take long in the third before the Bruins then tied up the game 4-4. Milan Lucic had the second assist on David Krejci's goal, giving Lucic the Gordie Howe Hat Trick. The Bruins would take the lead, and the Flyers would tie it up once more before regulation ended. After a scoreless overtime, the Bruins won the game in a shootout.
Afternoon games are generally thought of as tamer than evening games, but the last few weeks have seen more fighting coming earlier in the day.
Eric Boulton and Jody Shelley started things off just five minutes into the Flyers- Devils early afternoon game. It was a back and forth battle that saw Boulton land the better of the punches. Shelley has appeared in 17 games this season, it was his second fight.
Michael Rupp squared off with Shawn Thornton in the other early game. A more level affair, it happened in-between the first goals for each team:
At 2:44 of yesterday's second period, with the Bruins trailing, 1-0, Shawn Thornton asked New York's Mike Rupp if he cared to fight. Rupp accepted, and the two engaged in an even dustup that saw Thornton rally late in the scrap. "We've fought a few times," Thornton said. "I like the way he plays the game. He's a very honest, hard player. I thought it was a good time for it." Forty-four seconds later, with the rink still buzzing, Andrew Ference tied the score. "I think Andy made me look good by getting a goal," Thornton said.
Mark Bell hadn't seen NHL action since the 2007-08 season until the Anaheim Ducks recalled him from the Syracuse Crunch yesterday and put him in the lineup vs Ottawa. He's spent the last four years in the AHL and Swiss-A league. The OC register quickly sums up his story:
Bell's story is well-chronicled. His promising career as a power forward was sidetracked by an alcohol-related arrest that landed him in a California jail. That was followed by two more years of unfulfilled potential and then three spent in the American Hockey League and overseas.
It was predictable, it happened, and that was the end of it.
On January 3rd Rene Bourque elbowed Nicklas Backstrom in the head. Bourque served a five-game suspension (video of the hit & Brendan Shanahan explanation after the jump). A member of the Calgary Flames at the time, Bourque was part of the Michael Cammalleri trade and went from a season away from meeting the Washington Capitals again to days.
"I obviously don't feel good about what I did and I apologized for it, but I'm sure they'll be a few guys probably coming after me tomorrow," explained Bourque. "It's part of the game and I just need to be prepared for it. I know guys will be looking to make sure they finish their checks against me."
It took all of a minute before Matt Hendricks challenged Bourque. Knowing it was coming, there was no hesitation by Bourque, and they dropped the gloves. Bouque wears a shield, Hendricks does not, but there was no motion from Hendricks to remove helmets and Bourque didn't volunteer. The slightly bigger Bourque got the better of the fight against the more experienced Hendricks, and that was the end of it. Clean checks aside, there was no more targeting or retaliation against the Caps' current villain, even when they were up 3-0 in the second period. The game ended with the same score.
Zenon Konopka is at the top of the FM leaders list, again (and almost). Keeping up with the man labeled a goon by the media until trade deadline day when he's recognized as a hockey player, and suddenly labeled "a good faceoff man and a penalty killer", can be challenging.
The Blue Jays, now "Canada's Team" for baseball, visited the Senators for some cross-promotional love last week.
It's a holiday weekend here in the States, so I'm admittedly cheating a bit with this post by not posting on-the-ice updates (and name-dropping).
Do enjoy some of the old school clips that have been posted.
The Stars and Kings played a hard-fought game last night. Even if there wasn't a fight, you'd still say the game had a lot of fight to it. With hard checking and back & forth scoring, it was an entertaining finale on a night with many NHL games.
A play being reviewed again and again is Brenden Morrow's hit on Anze Kopitar. It was a clean, hard hit, but Kopitar hit the boards awkwardly and remained down for a while. Mike Richards flew in to challenge Morrow for the hit. The fight didn't amount to much other than Richards being given the gate.
So the NHL thinks we should all wear visors so why do we get penalized if we fight with them on? #whatajoke
It's not the first time we've seen this complaint. Jarome Iginla's made it before (something I've mentioned before but cannot find the original source), and so have other higher profile players who are encouraged to wear visors more than their third and fourth-line teammates.
Penalty shots aren't a common occurrence. Penalty shots awarded to players like Shawn Thornton, even less. Tuesday night's Jets-Bruins game saw two and awarded to two of the most unlikely candidates: Thornton and Chris Thorburn.
Thorburn was stopped by Tuukka Rask in the first period, but Thornton made a hell of a move on Ondrej Pavelec in the second, tying the game 2-2.
About five minutes later he got into a shoving match in front of the Jets' net with ex-teammate and friend Mark Stuart. They dropped the gloves and Thornton quickly reminded everyone of how he made it into the NHL.
As I said on Twitter, if he would have picked up a shorthanded assist, it would have made for the oddest Gordie Howe Hat Trick ever.
The Bruins won the game 5-3.
It took all of four minutes (almost) for things to erupt. Alex Burrows gave Daniel Paille a stick tap while Paille was going back to the bench. Shawn Thornton was in the vicintiy and went right after Burrows. All the Canucks then pounced on Thornton, Henrik Sedin stepping away and onto the bench after Maxim Lapierre flew in. Zdeno Chara was able to ply away a few Canucks as the scrum developed.
Milan Lucic was ejected for leaving the bench to join the altercation. After review, the NHL rescineded the game misconduct, and obviously there will be no further discipline. Nevertheless, this left Boston without two of it's top goal scorers for the next five minutes, and one for the entirety of the game.
Later in the period, on the faceoff immediately after Brad Marchand tied up the game, Maxim Lapierre and Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves and squared off cleanly. They grappled and attempted to throw some punches, but had each other locked up well.
Towards the end of the second period, with the score tied 2-2, Marchand was ejected for clipping Sami Salo. Vancouver, having the league's best power play unit, capitalized by scoring two goals within the 5-minute man-advantage. Boston was now down another top goal scorer for the rest of the game. They were able to add one more goal, but the Canucks prevailed 4-3 in a wild, entertaining game. Unlike Lucic, Marchand may be looking at extra games.
Blackhawks rookie Andrew Shaw made his NHL debut last night. With 21 points and 80 PIMs in 33 games with Rockford this season Shaw shouldn't be described as a fighter, but he's not shy about mixing it up.
After Chicago scored the first goal of the game about three minutes in and Zac Rinaldo challenged him, he wasn't about to decline. It was Shaw's first NHL fight, but unfortunately for him, Rinaldo's best.
Shaw skated off for some repairs afterwards, and a new sweater, but pumping fists and proud nonetheless. He told the Sun-Times:
"We fought back in junior," Shaw said. "He challenged me there, and I don't like saying no. So I decided to square up with him. I knew how he'd fight. He just keeps throwing and throwing. He caught me with one off the start, but I got him with a few as well."
That wasn't Shaw's only stand-out moment. In the second period he scored his first NHL goal, giving the 'Hawks a 2-1 lead. Philly tied it up seconds later and added two more before the period was done. Chicago scored twice within 25 seconds to tie it up in the third only to lose when James van Riemsdyk scored on a power play with 33 seconds left.
The hockey world, or at least the NHL world, was focused on the Winter Classic yesterday. After pushing the game from 1 PM Eastern to 3 to alleviate possible ice issues due to weather, we were treated to an uptempo, closely-played game with a little drama at the end.
Only 30 seconds after that Mike Rupp scored for the Rangers, giving a Jaromir Jagr-esque salute afterwards. Rupp scored again a couple of minutes into the third, tying up the game. Brandon Prust and John Mitchell had assists on both of Rupp's goals. Brad Richards gave the Rangers the lead a few minutes after that and the score remained Rangers 3, Flyers 2.
The drama came With 19.6 seconds left in the game. A shaky period officiating-wise altogether, the refs said Ryan McDonagh illegally covered the puck in the crease, awarding a penalty shot to the Flyers. Danny Briere took the shot for Philly and Henrik Lundqvist made the save, keeping the Rangers lead.
This was the third in a series of six games between the two rivals. The first two games had two fights each. This game had none.
There was only one fight last night, but it'll be one that stays towards the top of the best of list for this season.
With the Devils up 2-0 in Ottawa, Chris Neil dropped the gloves with Eric Boulton. After a lengthy square off, the two went back and forth with big punches. Neil had Boulton tied up decently and drew blood, forcing Boulton to switch up jerseys.