In January 6’s match-up between the Dallas Stars and the Columbus Blue Jackets, Travis Moen got into a little scuffle with Jared Boll (pictured above). This wonderfully timed image got us thinking, what are some of our favorite fights of all time. For better or for worse, the art of brawling is dying: so lets recognize the controversial times when the NHL was truly a bloodsport. So without further ado, here are uSports’ top 5 best NHL brawls.

5) Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders, 2011

A personal favorite, the New York Islanders in 2011 were on their way to missing the playoffs for a fifth straight season. However, the Penguins rivalry still remained as heated as ever, even if it started to become one sided in New York’s losing years. Now, further add a controversial hit on the Isle’s Blake Comeau from Max Talbot, a 6-0 New York lead and an already hated back-up Penguins goalie and you have the number five best brawl.

4) Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators, 2004

As the opening text shows, there was 419 penalty minute given out in this 2004 game and the Flyers accounted for 213 of them: which is still a single game NHL record. Now, all of this penalty time was not given out over one brawl, but five separate ones. As the video shows, it all started when two enforcers, Rob Ray and Donald Brashear, got into a fight in front of the net: but once the fight is stopped due to Ray’s cut, other Senators jump Brashear, resulting in a full scale brawl with one fantastic goalie fight.

3) Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche, 1997

What started out with a few chippy hits resulted in full-blown anarchy, as the two teams who despised each other quickly squared off: in the late 90s the Red Wings and Avalanche were basically looking for any reason to fight one another. And the one thing you have to understand, we at uSports rate these brawls on entertainment, absurdity level and goalie fights. And though the previous one had a great duel, the absolute slugfest between goaltenders Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon makes this one to remember.

2) Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens, 1987

In a scene that looks ripped from Slap Shot, the Canadiens and Flyers got in an all out brawl before the game even started. The legend goes that two Montreal players attempted to shot on the opposing net as a pre-game ritual. Well, the Broad Street Bullies took an exception to that: particularly, number 17 Ed “Boxcar” Hospodar. What started as a one on one fight quickly escalated as the locker rooms cleared. In the end, this lengthy brawl delayed the game, as it took a while to hand out penalties and ejections.

1) New York Rangers and Boston Bruins, 1979

What is perhaps the most infamous fight in NHL history, a scuffle at the end of the game between the Rangers and Bruins resulted in some fan participation. As it appears a Rangers fan reached over the boards and cut Stan Jonathan with a rolled up newspaper. In retaliation Terry O’Reilly jumped over the glass and started to pummel the fan as nearly the entire Bruins team joined: perhaps the most memorable part is Mike Milbury, who is now known for his 90s failures with the Islanders organization, beating a fan with his own shoe. You simply cannot make this stuff up: the outcome “three players being suspended, lawsuits and the installation of higher glass in the arena.”

 

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