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The Loop

War Never Changes

Rangers-Capitals was an absolute bloodbath on Wednesday night

It feels like it’s been awhile since we saw a hockey game break out at a fight, but on Wednesday night—just 48 hours removed from Tom Wilson punching a prone Pavel Buchnevic in the back of the head and injuring Artemi Panarin by pulling him to the ice by his hair—we got exactly that. The incident sparked widespread anti-Wilson outrage across the NHL, and when the league handed down a paltry $5,000 fine to the Caps kneecapper, that outrage threatened to turn into outright revolt. So it stands to reason that when the Caps back stepped back onto the Madison Square Garden ice for another round on Wednesday, it didn’t take long for the fireworks to start.

Just one second in fact.

And that was just the start of the first-period festivities, with Brendan Smith squaring up to Wilson less than a minute later . . .

. . . Anthony Bitteto and Michael Waffl facing off . . .

. . . and finally Ryan Strome taking on Lars Eller, all before the 15-minute mark in the first period.

All of the hate lead to some amusing hi-jinx, like the rush-hour 4-train that was the Caps penalty box . . .

. . . and Kevin Rooney turning the Tom Wilson flex upon its very maker . . .

. . . but as you have probably already guessed, things soon turned ugly. The Rangers went down three goals, Tom Wilson left the game with “an upper body injury” (translation: someone might get decapitated with a skate if we don’t get this guy off the ice), and there was this SUPERMAN PUNCH from Buchnevic, which effectively ended the mess that began with he and Wilson in the first place.

You won’t find a cheaper nose job in all of New York, we promise you that.

In the end, though, there was silver-lining to the black eyes. Capitals winger and U.S. Olympian T.J. Oshie—still mourning the loss of his father, "Coach," who passed away on Tuesday—scored a hat trick, and you could see what it meant to him as he wiped away tears on the bench.

Sure, getting crosschecked in the face stings, but this is what really made our eyes water.