Ovechkin throws punches, taunts Blue Jackets after sparking mini-brawl

nhl, alex ovechkin, washington capitals, josh anderson, columbus blue jackets
Alex Ovechkin and Josh Anderson exchange pleasantries in postseason atmosphere Sunday night. (Aaron Doster/CSM/REX/Shutterstock)

The NHL postseason is still more than a week away, but don’t tell Alex Ovechkin that.

In a fast, physical, playoff-style game disguised as a regular-season affair on Sunday night, Ovechkin was all over the ice, causing tensions to finally boil over in the third period with Washington leading 3-1. During one of many scrums, Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson took a few liberties with the Capitals captain, throwing a few quick punches to the face of Ovi—who fought back by throwing some wild punches of his own.

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All hell broke loose for a couple moments, as gloves and helmets covered the ice while several players paired off to exchange pleasantries with Ovechkin—as per usual—in the middle of it all. Order was eventually restored after a few brief moments of chaos, but Ovechkin got a few verbal jabs in on his way to the box upon receiving a roughing minor.

The incident presumably spawned mainly as a result of a hit doled out by Ovechkin earlier in the game on Blue Jackets’ rookie defenceman Zach Werenski. The Calder Trophy candidate, who was on the receiving end of several big hits, left the game and did not play a single shift in the final 18 minutes as the Blue Jackets pressed for the tie late without their highest scoring defenceman.

The potential loss of Werenski for an extended period of time would be a huge blow to the upstart Blue Jackets’ chances in their first postseason appearance since 2013-14, as the rookie has recorded 11 goals and 38 assists while sitting tied for fifth overall in team scoring. The No. 8 overall selection in 2015 has also averaged nearly 21 minutes of ice time while leading all Columbus skaters with 9.1 total point shares.

The Jackets are likely headed to a first-round matchup with the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, while the division-leading Capitals are destined to face either the Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round.

If you tuned into the game tonight, however, you would think the playoffs were well underway.

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