Rangers-Lightning Game 4 Halted By A Good Old-Fashioned Playoff Hockey Fight Between Brandon Hagel And Frank Vatrano
We've had a couple of near-brawls and gotten close to flat-out fisticuffs, but for the most part, the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, while a phenomenal showcase for the quality of today's NHL, has been light on the fighting. That is, until tonight! Lightning forward Brandon Hagel decided to give the Rangers' Frank Vatrano a little stick shove after the whistle in the second period of Game 4 in Tampa on Tuesday…and well you can see for yourself what ensued:
The referees really let them go on this one. Vatrano managed to keep his helmet on and managed to dislodge Nagel's, which put his adversary at a disadvantage. Nagel acquitted himself well as a pugilist under the circumstances, getting some pretty quality shots in on his New York foe. He was definitely the aggressor, clinging to Vatrano and swinging wildly while savvily shielding his face before things got really ugly.
Vatrano ended the duel by swinging Nagel around for a takedown to the icy canvas. Amalie Arena was going ballistic at the sudden uptick in action, as it had been a rather uneventful stretch since Pat Maroon opened the scoring at the 2:38 mark of the first period. That fight apparently woke everyone up, as Nikita Kucherov lit the lamp minutes later to put the Bolts up 2-0.
It's looking good for the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champs to even up this Eastern Conference Final series. Sometimes fights can ignite a spark for a team, and thankfully for Tampa Bay, Nagel antagonizing Vatrano seemed to accomplish just that.
Nagel's intermission interview where he broke down the events that preceded his bout might've been the best part. You're welcome!