Matthew Tkachuk front and centre in rough Kings-Flames grudge match

Matthew Tkachuk got away with something here after dropping Drew Doughty with an elbow directly to the face. No penalty on the play.

If you thought a two-game suspension would be enough to wash away a flagrant Matthew Tkachuk elbow to the face of Drew Doughty, well, you haven’t met many hockey players.

It wasn’t merely that a player ate some elbow pad, that’s quite common in this game. Part of it was the fact it was a rookie who went after the respected Los Angeles Kings veteran. Another ingredient was Doughty openly calling Tkachuk a “dirty player” and the Calgary Flames forward coming across largely unremorseful over the whole thing.

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The tension had been stewing so it seemed like only a matter of time before fists would be flying as the Kings visited the Flames for the second time in 10 days. Predictably, it was an action-packed start to the game.

Here are some highlights of Wednesday’s rough stuff.

A little pre-game chirping

Pleasantries were exchanged prior to puck drop when Kyle Clifford skated over to a stretching Tkachuk. That drew a crowd and it was a precursor to a wild first period.

Tkachuk with the premature glove-drop

The rookie was eager to drop the gloves as penance for his elbow on the reigning Norris Trophy winner but as he quickly found out Jake Muzzin was not going to be his dance partner.

Tkachuk was assessed two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct just 25 seconds into the game and skated to the penalty box while chewing on his mouthguard.

Tkachuk with the correctly timed glove-drop

On his next shift, immediately after the Flames went up 1-0, Tkachuk finally found a dance partner in the form of Brayden McNabb. The two exchanged jabs and McNabb took Tkachuk down with an uppercut as the two were off balance. A grin crossed the face of the 19-year-old as he parked himself back in the penalty box at the 3:05 mark of the first.

Iginla, Engelland get involved

In what was potentially his final appearance at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Jarome Iginla had himself a game—one of his best of the 2016-17 campaign. He was involved in the pre-game flare-up as the teams warmed up and carried that energy into his fight with Deryk Engelland midway through the first. The scrap sparked Iginla’s teammates and served as somewhat of a turning point in the game.

Tkachuk gives Doughty a love tap after the whistle

Just 14 seconds after Iginla and Engelland chucked the knucks Tkachuk crossed the L.A. blue line and fired a wrist shot that was deflected out of play by Doughty. Tkachuk proceeded to give Doughty a light whack on the leg with his stick. Doughty turned to the officials and pleaded for them to call a penalty but no dice.

Tkachuk takes a couple healthy runs at Doughty

One thing we’ve learned through all this is Tkachuk isn’t the type of player you’re going to intimidate easily. That is to say it shouldn’t have surprised anyone when midway through the second period Tkachuk finished a check on Doughty in the Kings’ zone and 10 seconds later he narrowly missed levelling Doughty at centre ice.

“I think he just lost an edge and fell and I fell and I fell over him,” Tkachuk told reporters after the game. “Went to hit him and fell over him.”

The Kings didn’t appreciate the second hit attempt. Andy Andreoff got two minutes for roughing and a game misconduct for confronting Tkachuk.

In like a lion, out like a lamb

The final frame was relatively calm. McNabb got a roughing call and Alex Chiasson served two minutes for a trip but Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter beat Brian Elliott to put the Kings up 4-1 and sucked the energy out of the building.

The final horn sounded and there was nary a shove.

“There was good energy in the building,” Tkachuk added. “We obviously wanted to be better and, you know, you tip your hat to them. They played good tonight. [The elbow] is something that happened in the past, it’s done with and you move forward.

“That whole first period was kind of a little bit of different than what most periods are like, but that’s just hockey and it’s done with.”

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