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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Stars Collide: Tkachuk, Pastrnak Fight; Montour Gets His ‘Licks’ In with Marchand



Tkachuk pastrnak
Florida’s Sam Reinhart, Boston’s Morgan Geekie, and Panthers captain Sasha Barkov get all mixed up Wednesday as Brandon Montour and Brad Marchand fight along the glass on Wednesday night. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SUNRISE —When two of the NHL’s most marketable players fought on Wednesday, you have to ask yourself this: Could Matthew Tkachuk and David Pastrnak fight over a Dunkin’ Donuts cold brew in a spot next year?

Perhaps they could borrow Ben Affleck’s DunKings sweatsuits for warmups before Game 3 on Friday night at the Garden.

Does Tim Hortons have anything to say about this?

If you missed the third period of the Florida Panthers win over the Boston Bruins Wednesday, you missed a lot.

Not only did Tkachuk and Pastrnak throw down at center ice, but Brandon Montour taunted Brad Marchand first by celebrating a shorthanded goal in his face — then stuck his tongue out at the infamous face licker.

Childish, perhaps.


Hells yes.

What a wild night it was at the Sawgrass Palace.

And it was only the second game of what should be an epic series between these two heated rivals.

Aside from the fisticuffs, the Panthers rolled to a 6-1 win.

Most of the fun happened after Florida took control of the game.

Behind Enemy Lines: Bruins Coverage at Boston Hockey Now

Sure, the scores in the opening two games of this series have been on the lopsided side — the first team to score has been blown out — but the WWE antics have made this must-see-TV.

The two played relatively nice in Boston’s Game 1 win although goalie Jeremy Swayman mixed it up with Tkachuk in that one.

Wednesday, the gloves came flying off.

Florida ran the Bruins out of the building early in the third and Montour got things really going on his shorthanded goal which made it 5-1 with 8:02 remaining.

Montour celebrated his goal by getting all up in Marchand’s grill — and Boston’s famed agitator took offense.

As he should have.

And Montour certainly expected him to.

Marchand and Montour went at it as Florida fans celebrated at the arena while fights broke out all over the place.

When the refs finally grabbed control of the main combatants, Montour stuck out his tongue at Marchand.

At least he did not lick him — as Marchand has been known to do.

Had the two not been separated by officials, perhaps he would have.

Both players were kicked out of the game.

“This is what playoffs is about,” Marchand said. “This is where rivalries are built in the playoffs. … You can see both teams want to win. They’re leaving it all out there. It’s going to be a physical series, we know that. That’s what fans love. It’s exciting.’’

In all, six players from each side were ejected with Florida coach Paul Maurice having captain Sasha Barkov sit on the defensive side of the bench.

Barkov did not get to be a defenseman on Wednesday, but it came close.

“I would have loved to have played on defense, but Forsy wanted to stay out there,” Barkov said, eliciting a grin from Gus Forsling. “I couldn’t get on the ice. Forsy would not leave.”

The brawl everyone is talking about this morning came soon after Marchand and Montour headed to their respective rooms.

Tkachuk asked Pastrnak to dance — and the Dunkin’ spokesman agreed to throw with the guy who does Hyundai, Timmies, Great Clips and Celsius ads.

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The duo tackled each other in open ice after Pastrnak told coach Jim Montgomery what was about to transpire.

Although both players are known to mix it up between the whistles, neither really fight all that much.

The two were throwing haymakers on Wednesday, however, with Tkachuk getting the better of Pastrnak early.

“It won’t change a thing, but man, you’re going to see that on the highlights over and over and over again,” Maurice said.

“And that’s a good thing. You have two elite offensive players. Chucky’s a 100-point guy all day long. Pastrnak’s just this brilliant player. It’s the playoffs. They each have their team. They got their brothers in their room. It’s a little spicy out there. I think it’s awesome. When it was over, they both looked like they were fine. Sorry for whoever’s offended by that concept. I don’t care. I thought it was awesome. Like, good on both of them.”

After the refs jumped in, Pastrnak dove back into the fray and, as expected, the two got the rest of the night off.

“In the games, it’s a lot of emotions,” Pastrnak said. “I’m not afraid of him, to be honest. I can take a punch and I’d do anything for these guys here. … He was asking me, so I felt like I had to step up. Game was over, 6-1. So we’ll give it a go.”

Aside from Eetu Luostarinen, none of the ejected Florida players spoke postgame.

A total of 148 penalty minutes were handed out and both benches were pretty depleted at the end.

Tkachuk, along with the rest of the Florida ejected — including Montour — were not made available to the media.

Sam Reinhart took a slue foot from Pat Maroon in the second period.

Midway through the third, Maroon and Nick Cousins were the first ones to get a quick trip to their respective rooms.

Reinhart would soon follow.

This series, as expected, has gotten as spicy as the postgame wings the two teams both enjoy on their trips to Buffalo.

“It’s awesome for the sport,” Maurice said. “A whole lot of people in South Florida, who maybe never thought of hockey as their thing, are having a big night tonight because the Panthers won.

“So we’re going to get up (to Boston) and it’s going to be crazy, the building’s going to be rocking, they’re going to drop the puck and it’s going to be physical, it’s going to be fast. It’s the greatest sport on Earth. Why wouldn’t you come to the game?”

Hey, hit up Dunkin’ on the way to the Garden and check it out.

Perhaps Matthew Tkachuk will fight you for a Dunkaccino.

They are probably pretty good.

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


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