Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza has not been much of a fighter in his NHL career.
According to his hockeyfights.com player page, he had only been involved in four fights during his 14-years in the league entering Saturday, with none of them coming since March 3, 2009, when he fought then Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf.
That fight-less drought came to an end early in the second period on Saturday afternoon when he decided to drop the gloves with Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning.
It all started in front of the Flyers’ net when Spezza pushed Manning down from behind away from the play. As Manning was on the ice, he slashed Spezza across the leg. As soon as Manning returned to his feet, Spezza dropped his gloves.
Have a look.
It has been a tough year for both Spezza and the Stars, so this was probably the result of some frustration boiling over. Having missed seven games this season due to injury, he is one of the many Stars forwards that has missed extended time this season. He has five goals and 10 assists in the 27 games he has played entering Saturday.
The Stars entered the day with a disappointing 12-14-6 record and were just 4-7-1 in their past 12 games.
Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.
Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.
So far, it shows, too.
The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.
There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:
Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week
Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.
WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry
A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.
As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.
While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.
Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.
It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.