The Rangers took matters into their own hands, fighting six different Capitals to open Wednesday's game.
The Rangers took matters into their own hands to open Wednesday’s rematch with Washington, fighting six different Capitals — including No. 1 enemy Tom Wilson — in retaliation for Wilson taking cheap shots at Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich two nights earlier.
The six fights occurred in the opening four-plus minutes, and was part of a scoreless first period that resulted in 100 penalty minutes.
Immediately after the puck was dropped, Rangers forwards Kevin Rooney, Colin Blackwell and Phillip Di Giuseppe fought Capitals forwards Carl Hagelin, Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway.
Wilson jumped on the ice shortly thereafter, and a few seconds later, he fought Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith, who further was penalized for instigating.
Wilson and Rooney later received matching 10-minute misconducts, and the Capitals said after the first period that Wilson would not return to the game due to an upper-body injury.
Rangers defenseman Anthony Bitetto and Washington’s Michael Raffl also squared off in the first period, as did New York forward Ryan Strome and Lars Eller.
Payback was expected from the Rangers, especially after the NHL chose not to suspend Wilson, a repeat offender, for punching a defenseless Buchnevich in the head and threw Panarin to the ice by the hair during a fracas after the whistle. Panarin was ruled out for the remaining three games of the regular season due to an injury related to the incident, while Buchnevich was tossed from Wednesday’s game after receiving a five-minute major for cross-checking in the second period.
Wilson, who was given a 10-minute misconduct for his actions Monday, was fined $5,000 by the NHL on Tuesday.
“The New York Rangers are extremely disappointed that Capitals forward Tom Wilson was not suspended for his horrifying act of violence last night at Madison Square Garden,” the team said in a statement Tuesday. “Wilson is a repeat offender with a long history of these type of acts and we find it shocking that the NHL and their department of player safety failed to take the appropriate action and suspend him indefinitely. Wilson’s dangerous and reckless actions caused an injury to Artemi Panarin that will prevent him from playing again this season.
“We view this as a dereliction of duty by NHL Head of Player Safety, George Parros, and believe he is unfit to continue in his current role.”
Wednesday’s game continued a chaotic day for the Rangers, whose owner James Dolan shockingly fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mark Fischer