This is the last time the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils will meet this season, but if they face off in the playoffs, they won’t need to reach deep into the history of their rivalry to fuel some hate. The two teams’ coaches were jawing each other from the start and, as it turns out, for good reason. (Devils coach Peter DeBoer did a great job of capturing the hate.)
Three different fights took place three seconds into the game – totaling in 40 penalty minutes. You can witness the carnage in the video below, highlighted by the blood oozing from Ryan Carter’s head:
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Stu Bickel, Carter, Brandon Prust, Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton and Mike Rupp were involved in the fight, with Bickel getting a game misconduct.
A history of violence
Dropping gloves off the bat isn’t exactly uncommon between these two teams. I looked back at the box scores to chart the history of violence in the season series, with an emphasis on early tussles.
Dec. 20 (at New Jersey): Rupp and Janssen fought three seconds in; Boulton, Clarkson, Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan were involved in fights 1:47 in as well.
Jan. 31 (at NJ): Pacifism!
Feb. 7 (at Madison Square Garden): Rupp, Janssen, Boulton and Prust dropped the gloves two seconds in.
Feb. 27 (at MSG): Pacifism – until the second period, when Clarkson, Boulton, Prust and Rupp mixed it up.
March 6 (at NJ): They took a little longer to “warm up” or get on the ice, as Carter and Dubinsky fought three minutes in and John Scott fought Cam Janssen midway through the first.
As you can see, early fights aren’t unusual – they’re practically like filing paperwork. Still, three fights at the three-second mark? That’s a heck of a finale.