Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of hockey players dropping their gloves and throwing a bunch of punches at one another, there is a recognizable trait that these fights bring to a game. I am not one to assume that I think the same way a hockey player does — and that is why I’m writing this blog instead of doing anything closely resembling the sport on the ice — but there is an unavoidable conclusion that seeing your teammate go at it with an opponent provides this new-found energy that sometimes works in your favor and makes you better at playing hockey.
It is not a science; it is not some direct correlation sort of thing that can be measured, but we have heard the same tale for decades now that just watching some orchestrating violence awakens some sixth hockey-playing sense. If you lose the game, you don’t talk about it, but if you win, oh boy, well that’s what started it. And it was the same for the Philadelphia Flyers last night as they came back from a two-goal deficit and ended up earning a 3-2 win over the very good Tampa Bay Lightning.
First, it was Nic Deslauriers getting into a heated tussle with the much bigger Pat Maroon as the game started to slip away from the Flyers. It was still scoreless, but you could sense that this was just an uneven matchup, so Deslauriers decided to take on the sizeable Maroon and had a great bout.
Then not even 15 minutes of play later, after a scramble in front of goaltender Carter Hart with the home team leading by a goal, Justin Braun of all people got into it with pest Corey Perry. It might not have ended with the Flyers defenseman on top, but for someone whose whole career has been built upon him being the calm, cool, and collected blueliner, it wasn’t a bad tilt against one of the premier power forwards of his generation.
Fight night continues at Amalie Arena. pic.twitter.com/hdRuKDDiDz— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 19, 2022
The Flyers goaltender greatly appreciated the effort.
“D-Lo had a great fight, a great tilly, and so did Brauner,” Hart said. “I know he’s a guy that doesn’t drop them too often but he was standing up for myself and for our team in the blue paint and I think that was huge for sending a message to the other team. Like, hey stay away from our net.”
Defensively it apparently gave a little bit of push back — even if the Flyers allowed one goal after Braun’s fight — but the two fights in the first 25 minutes of the game gave that spark and jump to carry the Flyers to the eventual victory over the home team.
“It’s a tough building to come into, home opener, but we found a way to get our legs back into it,” forward Scott Laughton said. “D-Lo [Deslauriers] got into a fight, Brauner, kind of gave us some momentum and we built off of it that way and continued to grow out game and go that way. We found a way, and sometimes it’s going to be ugly, but yeah, we found a way.”
It was an ugly enough win, but there is still some beauty in men punching each other and then a young forward taking advantage of a rare defensive lapse and scoring the game-winner like Noah Cates did on Tuesday night.
No panic, no desperation. Just throw it on net and you get to be crowned the winners of the game and still, somehow, remain perfect so far this season with a 3-0-0 record, despite losing the scoring chance battle by a good amount.
Philadelphia continues its attempt at staying undefeated against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.