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Tkachuk-McDavid post-whistle scrum is 'classic playoff hockey' in Stanley Cup final

Tkachuk-McDavid post-whistle scrum is 'classic playoff hockey' in Stanley Cup final
Tkachuk-McDavid post-whistle scrum is 'classic playoff hockey' in Stanley Cup final


Tensions between the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers cooked up midway through Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night, with a post-whistle scrum featuring two of the most important players in the series.

Florida's Matthew Tkachuk deadlocked Edmonton's Connor McDavid and landed a few punches in the process.

“Classic playoff hockey,” Tkachuk said.

Panthers penalties allowed the Oilers to score a 5-on-3 goal, ending their 0-for-the-series power play drought en route to a 8-1 blowout thus eliminating the possibility of a sweep. But the rough stuff will likely carry over into Game 5 Tuesday night, with Florida up 3-1 and on the verge of winning the Cup.

“It hasn't really been a series like that,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said Sunday. “There haven't been too many scrums but everyone is competitive and to be great in this competition you have to have a strong fire so every now and then we'll see that.”

McDavid said he got involved in the fight because Tkachuk and Sam Bennett were double-teaming Zach Hyman. Asked about the interaction with Tkachuk, the Edmonton captain said with a laugh, “I didn't throw many punches,” but he wasn't about to shy away from the situation either.

“That's not the game I want to play,” McDavid said. “That's not really my job. I'm just there to make sure no one gets outnumbered, and I thought Hyman was doubled by Bennett and Tkachuk and I just tried to jump in there and do my part as a teammate Everyone has to jump in at those moments.”

If Maurice is going to consider making any lineup changes, it won't happen until Monday before his team goes back on the ice for practice. He first wants to rewatch Game 4 and isolate the performance of players who may be on the verge of being scratched.

“If I'm going to consider a lineup change, I'll go back and watch the individual games,” Maurice said. “So if I'm thinking about taking out a defender, I'll watch the defender's game directly so I know what I saw in the game.”

In previous series, Maurice has replaced his wingers in the fourth line after a defeat. That could mean Ryan Lomberg and Nick Cousins, or both, return for Kyle Okposo and Steven Lorentz.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Oilers in the finals was the play of veteran forward Evander Kane, who has been through all of the playoffs with a sports hernia. Kane had one point in nine games before coach Kris Knoblauch decided to cut him for Game 3.

Kane was scratched again in Game 4, but the team won't leave him behind, leaving open the possibility of him being back in the lineup as Edmonton is eliminated again.

“Yes, Evander is coming with us and there is a possibility and we will just evaluate his health and then make a decision,” Knoblauch said.

Without Kane, the Oilers have relied on 2007 Stanley Cup winner Corey Perry to provide much of the sharp, gritty play this time of year requires. Perry played just under 14 minutes on Saturday night and had an assist.


AP NHL Playoffs: en




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