Coyotes, Panthers drop gloves for 2 fights off the draw in Florida win

Jan 24, 2024, 5:57 PM | Updated: 8:00 pm

The Coyotes and Panthers had two fights off the draw. (X Screenshot/@BR_OpenIce)

(X Screenshot/@BR_OpenIce)

The Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers had some business to attend to before the hockey could start Wednesday at Amerant Bank Arena, as two fights broke out before 10 seconds ticked off.

Coyotes center Jack McBain and Florida’s Ryan Lomberg dropped the gloves first. McBain knocked Lomberg’s helmet off but slipped to his knees before officials broke it up.

John Cena’s WWE theme music blasted in the arena as they threw down.

Moments later, Arizona’s Liam O’Brien traded blows with Florida’s Jonah Gadjovich, sizing each other up before O’Brien knocked Gadjovich’s helmet off and landed a huge blow. Gadjovich lifted O’Brien’s sweater over his face and the fight was broken up.

The fights were in response to incidents between the two teams at Mullett Arena on Jan. 2. Florida’s Nick Cousins hit Juuso Valimaki while on a knee against the boards, and Coyotes forward Jason Zucker responded by crushing Cousins into the boards from behind, leading to a fight with Gustav Forsling. Zucker was suspended for three games.

Wednesday was the first meeting between the two squads since then, and players from both sides met at center ice during pre-game warm-ups prior to the game.

The Panthers responded more effectively on the ice, taking a 3-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes.

Florida won the game 6-2 after leading by as many as 6-0.

Dylan Guenther and Logan Cooley scored Arizona’s two goals, and Karel Vejmelka stopped 38 of 44 shots. Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals for the Panthers.

Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Anton Lundell and Gadjovich also scored for the Panthers while Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves.

The Coyotes visit Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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