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Terrifically odd scene last night in the third period of the Vancouver Canucks' 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers: Marian Gaborik(notes) gives Ryan Kesler(notes) the weakest slash to the leg in recent memory, sparking a fight-less melee during a line change that actually had 10 players on the ice for New York.

Once that situation was defused -- and it did look like it was going to boil over a few times into an old school 1970s sprawling slugfest -- the action moved to the benches, where Canucks defenseman Shane O'Brien(notes) decided to nudge Sean Avery(notes) with his lumber. From CBC Sports:

Because of the line changes, there were 10 Rangers against seven Canucks on the ice, and it resulted in five 10-minute misconducts, including one to Shane O'Brien for poking New York agitator Sean Avery with his stick from the benches, and a minor penalty to Kesler. "I could comment in a multitude of ways but I've already talked to [general manager Mike Gillis] about it and he told me he was going to deal with it," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said.

Clearly, the scars of 1994 have yet to heal. Not mentioned by the CBC: Avery snatched the harpoon from O'Brien and tossed it onto the ice while his mouth continued to move at the speed of sound.

The misconducts at 4:21 of the third were given to the Rangers' Dane Byers(notes) and Dan Girardi, and the Canucks' Kevin Bieksa(notes), Alex Burrows(notes), Kesler and O'Brien. Here's the video from TSN of this strange, hypnotic non-brawl; the Avery/O'Brien fun is about 2:45 into it:

Meanwhile, on the fighting front, check out Darren Dreger of TSN this morning writing about the lack on instigator penalties this season: "Heading in to Tuesday's games, an instigator penalty had been called in 8 of 117 fights. That's one for every 14 fights or 6.8%. Although slightly higher than last season's 5.9% rate ..."

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