The Vegas Golden Knights (18-11) defeated the New Jersey Devils (10-13-5) 5-3 Thursday night and got a well-deserved two points. They now are tied for second place in the NHL’s Pacific Division Standings.
That is all fine and dandy, but the main focus of Thursday night’s game walking away will be the scrum in the third period.
Every player on the ice got involved for both the Devils and Golden Knights. Robin Lehner threw his helmet off and tried to fight Michael McLeod. Lehner was then kicked out of the game and Laurent Brossoit had to come in and play the remaining 15 seconds of the game. Sticks, gloves, and helmets were everywhere after the skirmish for a full garage sale at Prudential Center.
This all (technically) started before the game. PK Subban and Jesper Boqvist were unable to play for the Devils which made Mason Geersten come into the lineup. Remember his name.
Late in the third period, Zach Whitecloud stepped up on Devils’ star center Jack Hughes and crushed him with a clean hit. Remember this hit as well.
Whitecloud – Dman
— The Gilded Jester (@TheGildedJester) December 17, 2021
After the Devils’ fourth goal was disallowed due to the play being offsides, the game was all but over. The team had already called their timeout, Mackenzie Blackwood was already on the bench, and there was simply not enough time to mount a two-goal comeback.
With under twenty seconds in the game, Devils’ head coach Lindy Ruff put the aforementioned Geersten on the ice. Despite being a defenseman, Geertsen lined up against Evgenii Dadonov at forward. Typically, when a defenseman does this it is to challenge a forward to a fight.
Just look what happened when Kevin Bieksa tried to take a faceoff back in 2014.
“You put a defenseman, a tough guy, to line up at forward when there are 25 seconds left. That’s sh**ty, but that’s what those older, veteran coaches do sometimes,” said Golden Knight’s forward Jonathan Marchessault postgame on Ruff’s decision.
Kolesar and Geersten never dropped the gloves, instead, Geersten took a run at one of the Golden Knight’s best players and defenseman in Alex Pietrangelo. This all happened way behind the play and again, there were only 15-20 seconds left in the game.
After the game, Geersten argued that having both McNabb and Pietrangelo teaming up on him should be a suspendable play.
“McNabb should get some sort of suspension. You can’t two-on-one a guy,” said Geersten
In typical hockey fashion, a scrum ensued with each player on the ice grabbing a sparring partner. Brayden McNabb came in and grabbed Geersten immediately, protected his star player, and took him off of Pietrangelo.
With the Devils having the extra attacker on the ice, there was an uneven amount of players for the Devils’ and Golden Knights’ miniature line-brawl. As a result, Robin Lehner dramatically threw off his mask and challenged Michael McLeod to a fight.
“It’s a little blurry right now but everybody started to grab each other. (Mattias) Janmark isn’t a fighter, and the guy (Michael McLeod) dropped his gloves and grabbed him. I tried to grab the ones that were showing that they were tough but they didn’t really accept it,” said Lehner postgame.
Max Pacioretty, who has been in the league for 14 years now, knew exactly what kind of scheme Ruff and the Devils were playing. As a result, Pacioretty had some words for Ruff on the bench during the scrum.
“We wanted to frustrate them, and I think we did because all Pacioretty wanted to do was yell at me at the end of the game,” said New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff on the ending scrum.
At the end of the day, the Golden Knights got the last laugh and defeated the Devils 5-3. The Devils and Golden Knights will not play each other until April 18th, 2022. But that still does not take the bad taste out of the water between these two teams.
“I think it was some bulls**t. He (Mason Geersten) was just probably mad that Jack Hughes got hit there and nothing happened at the moment. At the end of the day, that guy is the one who gave up that fourth goal, so I think it’s kind of gutless,” said Marchessault.
The Golden Knights will take on the New York Rangers Friday night as they visit Madison Square Garden and former Golden Knight Ryan Reaves at 4:00 pm.