Minnesota

Lightning and Capitals brawl, meet again Sunday in Tampa

WASHINGTON (AP) — While officials reviewed Capitals forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s check to Lightning defenseman Cal Foote’s head, Tampa Bay’s Patrick Maroon dropped the gloves with Washington’s Garnet Hathaway during the long layoff.

That was just the beginning of the fisticuffs as tensions simmered on Friday night between these sides, who will return on Sunday in another lively game for players with short memories.

“I don’t know, but probably,” Lightning defender Victor Hedman said after his team lost 5-1. “Two teams that want to win hockey games. It was a poor goal and set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Aube-Kubel was sent off and given a match penalty, which is an automatic ban still under review by the NHL’s Player Safety Division. If he were suspended, he would miss at least the second half of the home-and-home series, if not even more for a hit Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said, “Define the word blindside.”

The Lightning weren’t too happy with it Aubel-Kubel’s hit early in the second period that knocked Foote out of the game. Maroon just didn’t wait until the next shift, to put it mildly.

“Patty will do that,” Hedman said. “He stands up for his teammates. He won’t take anything. That fueled the bank.”

A handful of other players were involved in the initial scrum, and they exchanged some jabs and jabs in the fight before Maroon and Hathaway were separated. Nick Paul hopped off the bench for a second before being pushed back by Lightning teammates to avoid a 10-game automatic ban.

The Capitals were killing every five minutes, and Sonny Milano – who served Aubel-Kubel’s penalty – struck from the box seven seconds after Lightning’s power play was up.

A few goals from Washington later, a series brawl broke out as 5:40 remained in the third quarter, with Tampa Bay’s Corey Perry battling Anthony Mantha and teammate Vladislav Namestnikov dropping the gloves on Washington’s Erik Gustafsson. With a little harshness, the incident added up to 26 penalty minutes and ended Mantha’s second hat-trick of his career as Gordie Howe – one goal, one assist and one fight.

Expect another Chippy game 48 hours later.

“I think it’s going to be the same,” said Kevin McCarthy, who coached the Capitals in Peter Laviolette’s absence. “When you compete there is always something that carries over from the previous game. Especially the way the game went tonight, it was physically demanding on both sides and we expect that again.”

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Follow AP Hockey writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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