We all know the cliches about passion, desperation and tensions rising during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The combination of those heightened elements can sometimes take a game over the edge, but often result in faster, tougher, more exciting hockey.
This fight is no exception:
Chris Neil may have gotten things started with a subtle spear to the midsection of Carl Hagelin off the opening faceoff, but emotions really escalated after Brandon Prust laid out Erik Karlsson with a pretty late and questionable hit in the first period, without a penalty on the play.
You could see Sens tough guys like Neil taking runs at Prust for the first few shifts after the hit, and things got increasingly chippy following, with the potential for the situation to get out of control quickly if not dealt with.
I suppose this was Neal and Prust’s way of “dealing with it.” And if you watched this game, you probably noticed that the scrap did seem to diffuse the situation for the time being.
By the way, did you catch Neil egging the crowd on with his right hand mid-fight? Whatever you think of Neil as a hockey player or pest, that was pretty awesome.