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Line brawl leads to eight ejections, Rangers manage to top Devils 4-3 in pivotal matchup

SportsLine brawl leads to eight ejections, Rangers manage to top Devils 4-3 in pivotal matchup

Wednesday’s game between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers certainly started off with its fair share of fireworks. Following the opening face-off, the two teams participated in a line brawl that involved all 10 skaters.

In total, eight players (four from each team) were ejected as they received game misconducts just two seconds into the game.

The brawl was highlighted by Rangers forward Matt Rempe duking it out with Devils defenseman Kurtis MacDermid. There was history between the two players from the last time that the two teams played on March 11. On that evening, Rempe chose not to fight MacDermid in the early going, then knocked Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler out of the game with an elbow. As a result, Rempe received a four-game suspension for the hit.

Rempe and MacDermid’s encounter lasted the longest during Wednesday’s contest as all four other fights were finished, while their bout was still ongoing.

“It was great to see the team responding that way and having each other’s backs out there,” MacDermid said following the game. “l have a lot of respect for him [Rempe]. He’s a young kid trying to do his thing. I understand that.”

MacDermid had been a healthy scratch for New Jersey’s previous four games.

When the dust settled, Rempe, defensemen Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller and forward Barclay Goodrow were ejected on the Rangers side. Meanwhile, Devils defensemen Kevin Bahl and John Marino, forward Chris Tierney and MacDermid received their walking papers from a Devils standpoint.

It wasn’t just the players as Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette and Devils head coach Travis Green were shouting at each other on their respective benches following the line brawl.

“I have no idea why Peter was upset,” Green said. “Their players were lining up fights before the game. We all know why it happened tonight. Something happened the game before.”

When the drama was finished, it ended up being a very competitive hockey game.

The Devils possessed a 3-2 lead heading into the third period after captain Nico Hischier put New Jersey on top midway through the second period.

In the third period, Kaapo Kakko scored an unassisted to tie the game at the 5:32 mark of the frame. Forward Chris Kreider netted the game-winning goal with just 4:57 remaining in the contest when he tipped home a shot from defenseman Adam Fox.

With the victory, the Rangers swept the season series against the Devils by going 4-0-0, which marked their third undefeated regular season against their division rivals with the others coming during the 1993-94 and 2014-15 campaigns.

The Rangers currently sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 106 points, and hold a one-point advantage over the Dallas Stars in the Presidents’ Trophy race.

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