8 players ejected after Rangers, Devils have full line brawl at puck drop

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The Hudson River Rivalry is hot and heavy.

There has always been bad blood between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, but this year, it is boiling.

A 5-on-5 line brawl kicked off the beginning of Wednesday’s game, and eight players were ejected. The fights were expected, as Rangers rookie enforcer Matt Rempe and Devils’ Kurtis MacDermid were both in the starting lineup. The two fought one another in their last matchup.

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devils rangers fight

Kurtis MacDermid #23 of the New Jersey Devils fights with Matt Rempe #73 of the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden on April 03, 2024 in New York City.  (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Rempe has been known for his fights since his literal first second in the NHL. He made his debut at the Stadium Series in February, and his first shift began with a fight. In each of his first two games against the Devils, he was ejected due to blows to the head — the first one being just 10 seconds into his first shift of the rivalry and the second resulting in a suspension.

Gloves came off immediately as the puck dropped, with Barclay Goodrow taking the face off at center ice and then skating over to find his opponent.

Rempe didn’t even pretend to be ready for the face off, standing upright ready to go toe to toe with MacDermid.

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That heavyweight battle lived up to the hype — it was the longest of the five bouts, lasting well over a minute at center ice.

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K'Andre and Marino

K’Andre Miller #79 of the New York Rangers fights with John Marino #6 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period at Madison Square Garden on April 03, 2024 in New York City.  (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The only people from the line brawl that didn’t get a game misconduct were Curtis Lazar of the Devils and Blueshirts’ Jimmy Vesey.

Less than five minutes later, there was another fight, with Dawson Mercer going up against Will Cuylie.

The teams had a line brawl back in 2012. The two met in the Eastern Conference Final that year, with the Devils winning in six games.

Matt Rempe after line brawl

Matt Rempe #73 of the New York Rangers leaves the ice following a first period fight against Kurtis MacDermid #23 of the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden on April 03, 2024 in New York City.  (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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New York, who has the most points in the league this year, is 3-0 against the Devils, who are desperately fighting for a playoff spot after their surprise run last year. The Rangers got the first laugh, getting out to an early 1-0 lead with an Artemi Panarin goal.

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