UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Eight players were handed a total of 24 penalty minutes after a skirmish broke out at the end of the New York Islanders’ 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday in Game 6 of the teams’ first-round playoff series.
The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson were all assessed minors for roughing, while the Islanders’ Brock Nelson drew a roughing call, Kyle Okposo and Johnny Boychuk were whistled for cross-checking and Cal Clutterbuck was assessed a 10-minute misconduct.
Capitals defenseman John Carlson attempted a shot as the horn sounded that drew the ire of Okposo, who cross-checked Carlson in retaliation. That began a scuffle between the players on the ice at the end of the game, with Ovechkin stepping in on Okposo and others pairing up.
Brouwer held Islanders center Franz Nielsen down on the ice, while Johansson and Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey had to be separated by an official after the two fell and Johansson appeared to throw two punches.
Clutterbuck, who was also assessed a 10-minute misconduct in Game 5 on Thursday, appeared to smack Johansson’s stick with his own after the two sides had been separated.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano said the skirmish was “just a little nastiness” that carried over into the end of the game, while Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he didn’t expect any carryover between the teams into Game 7, which will be on Monday.
“I think we kept our emotions in check all through this series,” Trotz said. “I don’t think that should be a problem at all.”
The scuffle also drew a heated response from the fans, who chanted an epithet at the Capitals as the two teams skated off the ice. A handful of fans also threw things onto the ice toward players, including what appeared to be beer bottles, with the public address announcer imploring others not to do so.
Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said afterward that he didn’t “want to talk about that stuff” and would only take questions about the game. Capitals right wing Jason Chimera declined comment, and several others were not permitted to speak to reporters by the team afterward.
“I think we thought they shot it after the whistle there, and someone jumped Ovi from behind and then everybody went down,” Islanders center Franz Nielsen told reporters afterward. “I didn’t even see who was on top of me.”
Carlson denied that the aggression stemmed from a physical third period, when officials notably did not whistle play dead following a scrum that led to Nikolay Kulemin’s go-ahead goal at 10:33.
“I don’t know if anyone’s trying to be chippy on our end when we’re trying to score a goal to get back into the game,” Carlson said. “I don’t think we were worried about chippy play at that point.”