Predators-Jets is the best sort of rivalry: one born almost solely from the fact that both teams are very good and each stands in the other’s way of the Central title, the West, and, perhaps ultimately, a Cup. And even though we’re months and months away from what we all hope is a playoff rematch of last year’s second-round series—won by Winnipeg in seven games—we’ve got some bad blood already.
Nashville took Thursday’s game 3-0 on goals from Ryan Hartman, Roman Josi, and Ryan Johansen, and 29 saves by Pekka Rinne, but the biggest action happened in the second, when a scrum (seemingly started when the Preds took offense to Jacob Trouba just pinballing into everyone) resulted in a pair of fights, Colton Sissons vs. Nikolaj Ehlers and Mattias Ekholm vs. Blake Wheeler.
It was the first fight of Ekholm’s NHL career, which dates back seven years. “It was about time,” Filip Forsberg joked. Ekholm’s fight paled in comparison to the one right behind him, with Sissons and Ehlers trading serious overhand rights.
This is a good hockey fight because it came in the run of play, so to speak: no planning, not for show or for motivation, but just because some dudes were angry. It also helps set the scene for a full season of a great rivalry between two great teams. That’s about all you can ask for from guys dropping gloves in October.