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Drop Them Gloves: Fight Night Kicks off Panthers & Coyotes

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Florida’s Ryan Lomberg and Arizona’s Jack McBain ignore the dropped puck and go after each other at the start of Wednesday night’s game in Sunrise. // Screencap @BallyPanthers

SUNRISE — Just as warmups began Wednesday, a group of players from the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers gathered for a chat. A fight was discussed.

Although they did not throw right then, they would, soon enough.

The meeting was quickly adjourned with one of the participants telling Bally Sports reporter Katie Engleson it was about “refreshing our memories.’’

Ryan Lomberg, apparently, was refreshed.

Lomberg, who spoke with Engleson, opened Wednesday night’s game by taking a rare faceoff and going at it with Arizona center Jack McBain right off the hop.

After those two were tucked away safely in the penalty box, the puck was dropped again — and a second fight broke out between Florida bruiser Jonah Gadjovich and Liam O’Brien.

Through the first seven seconds of ‘hockey,’ the Panthers and Coyotes amassed 20 minutes of penalty time.

That is probably what one would expect when two fourth lines start a game — with a pow wow during warmups.

There would be a couple skirmishes as the first period went along as Florida built a 3-0 lead on goals from Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett.

Jason Zucker — who was part of the meeting with the likes of O’Brien, Lomberg and Gadjovich — concussed Florida’s Nick Cousins by boarding him the previous time these two played 22 days ago.

Zucker, by the end of the first, had escaped any retribution.

There was plenty of hockey left to be played, however.

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ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 

  • When: Friday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: PPG Arena, Pittsburgh
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Season Series (Panthers Lead 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 3, Penguins 1 (Dec. 8). At Pittsburgh: Friday; Feb. 14.
  • Last Season: Penguins won 2-1
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Penguins lead 56-37-7, 4 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday at New York Islanders, 7 p.m.
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