The tensions began to rise after the buzzer sounded to end the second period when Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk and Senators goalie Jonas Korpisalo jawed at each other while skating off the ice. Tkachuk (four minutes) and Travis Hamonic were given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Then, five minutes into the third, Senators forward Zack MacEwen was given a five-minute match penalty for a hit to Tkachuk’s head. The penalty came in front of penalty boxes after Tkachuk threw a hit on Hamonic. MacEwen quickly followed up with a hit on Tkachuk, leading with his elbow, then continued punching the Panthers forward after they fell to the ice.
“As the head coach you realize you’re throwing away an opportunity,” Senators coach DJ Smith said. “You have to just keep playing. I don’t know what went on between periods but the final, I don’t know whatever it was after we took the five-minute major, you don’t give yourself a chance to win and you can’t play like that in the NHL.”
Officials initially flagged MacEwen for elbowing but changed the penalty to hit to the head after a review. MacEwen has previously been suspended one game for kneeing Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse in 2021.
The drama didn’t end there. Halfway through the third, Tkachuk fought Senators defenceman Jake Sanderson and received an extra two-minute minor for roughing.
Less than 30 seconds after that, Senators captain Brady Tkachuk took a cross-checking penalty. When his penalty ended, Brady Tkachuk was sprung on a breakaway. He didn’t score but he made contact with Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, sparking a line brawl. Officials gave all 10 skaters involved 10-minute misconducts.
“More than half the team was out of the game. I want to win hockey games, we need to, I don’t know, it’s really tough to say right now because a lot of things happened tonight,” Senators forward Claude Giroux said. “It’s frustrating because we know we can be better. We definitely need to figure things out.”
Mathieu Joseph and Sam Bennett were later given 10-minute misconducts after jawing at each other to end the march to the penalty box.
This isn’t the first time these two teams have engaged in a penalty-filled game. On April 6 of last season, the two teams combined for 166 penalty minutes in a 7-2 Panthers win.
“That’s mild. We only got to about 167 minutes there, it’s got to get to the 250s before it gets too squirrely,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “Sometimes hockey can get like that, that’s part of why the game so great. Because it’s graceful and beautiful and physical and angry all at the same time. It’s probably good for both teams, you get to make it part of the story of your year.”