An exhibition tilt between the two Pacific Division clubs Sunday resulted in 114 penalty minutes being dished out as the Golden Knights and Sharks picked up where they left off after a wild and heated seven-game, first-round playoff series last spring.
While there might not have been any points up for grabs in the 5-1 result in favour of the Golden Knights, there were certainly some bragging rights on the line.
San Jose power forward Evander Kane finished the game with 27 penalty minutes, including a five-minute major for fighting Vegas’ Valentin Zykov.
Kane has played a central part in this budding rivalry — arguably the best in the NHL — after a heavyweight, post-season tilt with Golden Knights enforcer Ryan Reaves, as well as some back highly entertaining back-and-forth banter.
And after Sunday’s game, Reaves offered some fresh bulletin-board material.
“Kane looked like he wanted that to end,” Reaves told reporters via The Athletic’s Jesse Granger.
“He had him in a little chokehold, he looked like he tried picking him up and throwing him down. He looked a little scared to me, but that’s how it is.”
Reaves also joked about his lack of PIMs in a game that featured more than 100.
“That’s a first, eh?” he said.
“That fascinates me. I guess a little tester for the first game. I’m sure that won’t happen again.”
Kane also received two 10-minute majors for abuse of officials and was ejected. He could face supplemental discipline after responding to a cross-check from the Knights’ Deryk Engelland with a slash that also appeared to make contact with a linesman during an altercation in the third period.
Kane and the linesman, Kiel Murchison, later fell to ice as he attempted to separate the Sharks left winger and Engelland. Engelland also received a misconduct penalty.
Kane called his ejection a “joke,” according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
“I get kicked out of the game for getting jumped from behind by a referee. I’ve never seen a ref take five strides,” said Kane.
“If you look at his face, he’s getting all this power and he’s trying to drive me into the ice, which is what he did. That’s unbelievable. Talk about abuse of an official? How about abuse of a player? It’s an absolute joke.”
Kane — who is coming off a 30-goal, 153-PIM campaign with the Sharks — said he didn’t receive an explanation.
“I was just skating up the ice, minding my own business, and next thing you know, I get driven into the ice by one of the officials. I wasn’t even engaged with one of their players,” he said. “Explain that to me, how I get kicked out of the game for that. Baffling.”
The 28-year-old was tied for the league-lead with three-game misconducts last season and said he is often on the receiving end of disproportionate discipline from officials.
“It’s funny … if you look at the way I get treated out there when it comes to the scrums, or when the other team is trying to do (something) to me, there’s a massive difference compared to everybody else on the ice,” he said