All 10 Skaters Engage in Huge Brawl at Devils-Rangers Game Opener

HomeSports NewsAll 10 Skaters Engage in Huge Brawl at Devils-Rangers Game Opener

In a scene reminiscent of the legendary battles between the Broad Street Bullies and the Big Bad Bruins, the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils turned Madison Square Garden into a combat zone just seconds into their match on Wednesday night. In an extraordinary display of animosity, all 10 skaters on the ice erupted into a line brawl immediately after the opening faceoff, setting the stage for a chippy, emotionally-charged affair between the Metropolitan Division rivals.

The catalyst for the melee was a simmering feud between Rangers forward Matt Rempe and Devils enforcer Kurtis MacDermid, stemming from their previous meeting on March 11th. During that heated contest, Rempe had declined MacDermid’s invitation to drop the gloves early on, only to deliver a controversial high elbow later in the game that sidelined Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler and earned Rempe a four-game suspension.

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“It was great to see the team responding that way and having each other’s backs out there,” MacDermid said after the dust had settled. “I have a lot of respect for him (Rempe). He’s a young kid trying to do his thing. I understand that.”

As the two combatants grappled at center ice, a flurry of four simultaneous fights erupted around them. Rangers defensemen Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller, along with forward Barclay Goodrow, squared off against Devils blueliners Kevin Bahl and John Marino, and forward Chris Tierney, respectively. Only Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey and Devils winger Curtis Lazar remained in the game, as their tussle came first and didn’t warrant additional penalties.

“There was a lot going on. Five fights to start the game. I don’t think anyone expected that,” marveled Devils interim head coach Travis Green, who exchanged heated words with Rangers bench boss Peter Laviolette in the aftermath.

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The fireworks show was far from over, however. Just four minutes into the first period, Rangers rookie Will Cuylle and Devils forward Dawson Mercer renewed hostilities after Cuylle delivered a thunderous hit on Brendan Smith along the boards.

When the smoke finally cleared, a total of 82 penalty minutes had been handed out, with Rempe, Trouba, Miller, Goodrow, MacDermid, Bahl, Marino, and Tierney all ejected from the contest after receiving game misconducts on top of their fighting majors.

While the eruption of violence may have been unprecedented in the modern NHL era, it harkened back to an age when blood feuds between teams spanned entire seasons and the notion of “meaning business” took on a very literal connotation.

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“I have no idea why Peter was upset,” Green said, referring to his exchange with Laviolette. “Their players were lining up fights before the game. We all know why it happened tonight. Something happened the game before.”

In the end, it was the Rangers who landed the final blow, with Chris Kreider’s late power-play goal securing a 4-3 victory. But in a rivalry that dates back to the clubs’ first meeting in 1982, the real winner was the indelible memory seared into the minds of those lucky enough to witness a throwback to hockey’s untamed origins.

“It was just emotion more than anything,” Laviolette said, unable to mask a wry smile. In that fleeting moment, the Broadway Blueshirts and Jersey’s Sons of Pandemonium had etched their names into the annals of NHL lore.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a seasoned basketball journalist with a passion for the WNBA and NBA. His insightful writing combines commentary and stats, providing comprehensive coverage. Alee sheds light on the overlooked WNBA while championing its players. He also delivers in-depth NBA analysis, offering unique perspectives on trades, drafts, and league dynamics. With exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access, Alee gives readers an unparalleled look into the lives of basketball's biggest stars.

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