Rangers vs. Devils begins with a line brawl that results in eight ejections


Brawl NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 3: New York Rangers right wing Matt Rempe (73) and New Jersey Devils wing Kurtis MacDermid (23) fight before the opener in the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the New Jersey Devils York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 4, 2024 in New York, NY.  (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils quickly turned to violence in Wednesday's game, engaging in a heated battle that resulted in all but two players being ejected from the field at the start of the game.

Eight players were deemed fight majors and were sent off during the line brawl that took place immediately after puck drop at Madison Square Garden.

Rangers players ejected included Jacob Trouba, Matt Rempe, K'Andre Miller and Barclay Goodrow. For the Devils, John Marino, Chris Tierney, Kurtis MacDermid and Kevin Bahl were ejected.

Rangers picks Curtis Lazar and Jimmy Vesey, selected by the Devils, were hit by struggling Majors but remained eligible because it was the “first fight.” All other skaters on the ice were ejected due to their “secondary altercations.”

Rempe and McDermid sized each other up before heading into what was probably their most entertaining fight. In Rempe's three career games against the Devils, he was ejected from all three games.

Here's an aerial shot of the Grudge match to open the game:

It didn't take long for Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette and Devils interim coach Travis Green to chime in, cursing at each other on the bench. On the show they were seen cursing and shouting at each other.

This wasn't the first instance of bad blood between the team. Laviolette even seemed to predict chaos during Tuesday's practice.

“We have to win. The division games are always a little more competitive in my opinion,” Laviolette said, via the New York Post. “If you play more than anyone else in your division, there's probably a little more excitement in those games.”

Wednesday's incident was likely a result of Rempe's actions in two previous meetings with the Devils. During the Rangers' 3-1 win on March 11, the 21-year-old elbowed Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler and suffered a concussion. Rempe was removed from the game and given a four-game ban.

Previously, Rempe was sent off after hitting Devils forward Nathan Bastian in the Rangers' 5-1 win on February 22.

Of course, Rempe wasn't the only rioter on Wednesday. The Devils and Rangers recorded a total of five duels within the first two seconds of the game. According to Sportsnet Stats, it is the most attacks in an NHL game since the Rangers and Washington Capitals played six contests on May 5, 2021.