2:33 into a wild third period, Swedish forward Andre Burakovsky got in his first career NHL fight against Devils forward Blake Coleman. Young Dre dropped his mitts after teammate Dmitry Orlov was pushed off balance by the Devils pest and slammed feet-first into the boards.
Before we go any further: Yes, you read that right. The former teen shampoo model did his best Tom Wilson impersonation, throwing hands with a gritty opposing player.
What got Burra so frenzied was this teeny tiny push by Coleman into the lower back of Orlov. The Russian defenseman lost his balance and fell into the boards awkwardly.
Orlov agonized on the ice AND OH MY GOD HERE COMES THE SWEDISH PAIN TRAIN.
Burakovsky threw several punches at Coleman, but did not land any with force. Coleman won the fight, but Burra handled himself well.
While sticking up for his teammate was rad, Burakovsky was assessed 17 penalty minutes on the play: a two-minute minor for instigating, a five-minute penalty for fighting, and a ten-minute misconduct for instigating. The fight came at a pivotable moment in the game, with the Caps holding a perilous 3-2 lead and without their best defenseman who was out injured with an upper-body injury. The fight negated what would have been a 5-on-3 for Washington, took one of the Capitals’ best players off the ice, and could have resulted in serious injury.
After the game, however, Alex Ovechkin and TJ Oshie praised Burakovsky for his decision.
“Well he’s good friends with Tom Wilson. I think he teach him how to fight,” Ovechkin said before making a joke. “Obviously he do a great job. He’s a tough guy right now.”
Meanwhile, Oshie struck a more serious tone.
“For us, I think that’s the highlight of the game is Burkie stepping in there protecting Orly, protecting your teammates,” the first-line forward said. “It’s nice when you see a young guy like him kind of step in. We definitely don’t want him doing it every night; he’s very valuable to us. When you see a guy step up like that, I think that’s important for team morale and shows what type of guy he is.”
Head coach Barry Trotz said Burakovsky did a “good job.”
Trotz on Burakovsky: "Throwing the knuckles! … We want to maybe keep his gloves on, I don't know. He did a good job."
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) October 14, 2017
Even former roommate Michael Latta was impressed.
— Michael Latta (@Latta17) October 14, 2017
Tom Wilson would later avenge Burakovsky’s fight, turning Coleman’s face into figurative mashed potatoes.
The Capitals would go on to score two more goals and breeze to a 5-2 victory.
— alyssa (@alyssadrew97) October 14, 2017
Who had money on Andre Burakovsky being the first Caps player to fight this regular season?
— RMNB (@russianmachine) October 14, 2017
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