In the hours leading up to Wednesday’s rematch between the Capitals and Rangers, the Rangers organization called Tom Wilson’s role in a line brawl on Monday “a horrific act of violence.” Rangers players said Wilson had no respect for the game or its players. And the team said the Department of Player Safety’s George Parros should be fired after choosing to fine, not suspend the Capitals forward. The Rangers essentially painted themselves into a corner, where there had to be retribution in Wednesday’s game.
And retribution there was.
The Rangers and Capitals opened the game with a line brawl. All six forwards on the ice fought. Before the game was five minutes old, the teams dropped the mitts six different times.
The line brawl began one second into the game. Nic Dowd fought Kevin Rooney. Carl Hagelin threw hands with Colin Blackwell. And Garnet Hathaway face-punched Phillip Di Giuseppe.
That did not settle things. On the very next shift, 49 seconds later, Brendan Smith grabbed Tom Wilson and the two engaged in a long, grueling fight. Smith got the instigator and a 10-minute misconduct. The fight left Wilson’s knuckles bleeding.
A few minutes later, Michael Raffl fought Anthony Bitetto. Then Lars Eller danced with Ryan Strome – one of the participants of the line brawl Monday.
The Capitals, who were already down one offensive player, had six different forwards and 3 of their 4 centers in the penalty box for a period of time, meaning the team had only one center and four wingers on the bench. Things got so dire for the Caps that Brenden Dillon took a shift at forward.
bench vs penalty box pic.twitter.com/uPJHQL4sZU
— NBCSports Washington (@NBCSWashington) May 5, 2021
The Capitals and Rangers combined for 72 penalty minutes in the first four minutes and 14 seconds of the game. By the end of the first period, the two teams had 100 PIMs which included a Tom Wilson misconduct – his second in two games.
Neither team scored in the first period, but many faces were punched. Can we play hockey now?
Screenshot courtesy of NBCSN
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