Oilers’ McDavid earns praise for tussle with Panthers’ Bennett, Tkachuk

Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk got into it with Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid during a scrum after the whistle, giving the three-time Hart Trophy winner a couple shots before receiving a roughing penalty.

On a night he set a record for most assists in a single Stanley Cup Playoffs, Connor McDavid did something else that might have been even more impressive to his teammates.

After Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman was hit by Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett when he tried to poke a puck out of the grasp of goalie Anthony Stolarz midway through the second period, McDavid raced into the fray.

The Oilers star was on the receiving end of a few punches by Matthew Tkachuk and also exchanged some shoves with Bennett, who got a glove in McDavid’s face.

Both feisty Panthers forwards got roughing penalties, and the Oilers scored on the ensuing five-on-three power play to take a 6-1 lead.

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“I think it says a lot about him as a leader,” Hyman said after the Oilers’ 8-1 win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“I got hit in the head by Bennett and he might have been the first one in there. I can’t see because I’m on the ice, but I look up and he’s in there. He just sticks up for his teammates and he’s not afraid to get in the scrum. They go and take two penalties and we score.”

McDavid saw his actions as the natural thing to do.

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“I didn’t throw very many punches, but that’s not the game I want to play. That’s not my job to really do,” he said.

“I’m just there to make sure no one’s getting outnumbered. I thought Hyman was getting doubled up on by Bennett and Tkachuk. I just tried to jump in there and do my part as a teammate. Everybody’s gotta jump in there in those moments.”

The Panthers lead the series 3-1 with Game 5 in Florida on Tuesday.

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