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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Chris Kreider Takes Mouthguard From Matthew Tkachuk. He Got It Back

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Matthew Tkachuk and his mouthguard celebrate a first-period goal against the Bruins on April 6. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

FORT LAUDERDALE — Early in the third period of Game 4 on Tuesday night, Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk and New York’s Chris Kreider got into a heated moment, one in which Kreider grabbed Tkachuk’s gnawed mouthguard and attempted to toss it into the stands.

Although it was reported that the chewed up piece of plastic made it into the good seats beyond the glass, Kreider’s arm was apparently was not Marino-esque.

“I told him it was the best play he made the whole game,” Tkachuk said with a laugh on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s all game within the game stuff from their side, and from our side.”

One of Tkachuk’s signatures — aside from torn up t-shirts and scoring overtime goals in the playoffs — is his mouthguard.

Technically, it is in his mouth.

It does not guard anything as Tkachuk usually has it dangling out of his mouth as he chews on it like a dog toy.

Tkachuk mouthguard

Matthew Tkachuk and Chris Kreider get up-close and personal on Tuesday night in Sunrise. / ESPN Screenshot

When he and Kreider got mixed up in the opening minute of the third, Kreider can be seen ripping it from Tkachuk’s person and then skating away with it, flinging it up toward the glass.

It apparently hit the glass and landed safely on the ice.

That was good news for Kreider’s sake.

Had the mouthguard escaped the confines of the playing surface, he could have been ejected with the Panthers getting a 5-minute power play for the infraction per NHL Rule 75.4.

Tkachuk mouthguard

Tkachuk said he was unaware of the rule — as were many hockey fans.

“I did not know that,” Tkachuk said. “It’s fine. It’s the playoffs.”

Tkachuk said he has had his mouthguard taken from him in the past, but “normally they just give it back. The last time, the guy took it and threw it right back at me. This time was a little bit different. … It’s the playoffs. Got to love it.”

If a fan had snagged his mouthguard as a playoff souvenir on Tuesday, Tkachuk said that would be it.

He only has one — usually going through one per series.

Ick.

“I just have the one,” Tkachuk said. “Luckily it didn’t get over into the stands, it just went up in the air. I washed it off, and just used it.’’

Added coach Paul Maurice: “We have mouthguards flying everywhere.’’

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1) V. NEW YORK RANGERS (MET1)
Best-of-7 Series Tied at 2
GAME 5

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