The Washington Capitals will play their third game in as many weeks against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday at Amalie Arena. The Capitals have lost their previous two games against the league’s best team, who they eclipsed in seven games during the Eastern Conference Final last season. Some bad blood has developed.
During the teams’ last matchup at Capital One Arena, one particularly violent melee left Michal Kempny out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Skill forward Jakub Vrana got in his first career NHL fight with Yanni Gourde.
Vrana spoke about the fight after the Capitals’ morning skate and said he dropped his gloves due to Gourde’s “antics after whistles,” according to the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan.
Vrana said his fight w/ Gourde last time was related to taking issue with Gourde's antics after whistles. But he didn't like the Paquette/Kempny incident.
"He was in pain and he was laying on the ice and the guy was punching him in the face. That's not what you should do."
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) March 30, 2019
Vrana had his chain ripped and his nose bloodied in the fight after absorbing an uppercut from Gourde, but otherwise fared well.
“That’s something that we always discuss in our room. Like getting into a fight or him standing up for a teammate is a special quality, especially for someone who it’s outside of their element a little bit,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. “I have a lot of time for people that are willing to step outside the box and try something different and do something [that shows they’re] a good teammate. That received a lot of praise in our room and a lot of respect from our teammates. Obviously, that’s not something that you love to have your top players doing, but in the same respect, I love that we’re as a team and in this together. That’s a real clear way to show he’s all in.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 30, 2019
The only other time Vrana fought was in a rookie camp game against the Florida Panthers.
Vrana sported a cut on his nose in the week since. The Czech winger is tied for second on the team in goals with 23 after scoring against Carolina.
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