Last night’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs quickly descended into madness. After nearly two and a half periods with only 14 penalty minutes, everything fell apart six minutes into the third period. The Canucks were moving the puck up the ice when the Leafs’ Morgan Rielly laid a huge, late hit on the Canucks’ Jannik Hansen. However, Vancouver was able to keep the play going forward, and Daniel Sedin held the puck on a 2-on-1 with brother Henrik Sedin. Just as Daniel shot – and scored – Leafs center Nazem Kadri flew towards Sedin with a crushing, high hit. While Sedin was down, an enraged Hansen jumped Kadri and began a full-on line brawl. Kadri was given two five-minute majors, for charging Sedin and fighting Hansen, and a game misconduct, while Hansen was awarded a major for fighting as well as a two-minute minor for instigating and a game misconduct of his own. Reilly was not penalized for his initial hit on Hansen. Kadri will not be suspended for his hit on Sedin.
It did not stop there. Less than five minutes later, Vancouver enforcer Derek Dorsett started a fight with Toronto’s Leo Komarov, for which both got major penalties. Right afterwards, Reilly and Alexandre Burrows dropped the gloves and took their five minutes, but Burrows was also given an instigator and a 10-minute misconduct.
That still wasn’t even the real climax of the violent action. Again, just minutes later, all hell broke loose. The Leafs’ highly-paid enforcer, Matt Martin, unsurprisingly entered the fray by jumping Canucks rookie defenseman Troy Stecher. Who was there to protect the young blue liner? None other than goalie Ryan Miller, who sprung out of net to attack Martin. In response, Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen skated all the way down the ice to break up Miller and Martin. Martin proceeded to drop the gloves with Vancouver’s Brendan Gaunce, while Toronto’s Connor Carrick left the bench to support his teammates in the brawl. When the dust settled, Martin was (predictably) given a game misconduct as well as a fighting major and roughing minor; Gaunce was given a game misconduct while Stecher was surprisingly given the fighting major; Miller and Anderson were each given two minutes for leaving the crease and a game misconduct; Carrick earned himself a game misconduct for leaving the bench.
Games like the one last night between the Canucks and Maple Leafs are rare in today’s hockey climate. However, there is no doubt that there is some definite entertainment value to such an intense, high-tempered showdown. The two teams meet again on December 3rd, with some scores surely left to be settled. If you enjoy an old-school brawler game, that rematch will be one to watch.