Brawl, the Lightning and the Capitals, meet again Sunday in Tampa

WASHINGTON (AP) — As officials reviewed the check for Capitals forward Nicholas Opp-Koppel to head Lightning defenseman Cal Foot, Tampa Bay’s Patrick Marron dropped the glove with Washington’s Garnet Hathaway during the extended layoff.

This was just the beginning of the bickering as tensions boiled over Friday night between these teams, who will face off again on Sunday in what could be another rowdy game for players with short memories.

“I don’t know about it, but it probably is,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said after his team’s loss. 5-1. “Two teams want to win hockey games. That was a bad hit, and it set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Aube-Kubel was ejected and assessed a game penalty, an automatic suspension suspended by the NHL’s Player Safety Division. If he’s suspended, he’ll miss at least the second half of the home-and-home series, if not more, Tampa Bay coach John Cooper said.

Lightning wasn’t very happy Aubel-Kubel hit Early in the second half resulted in Foot being knocked out of the game. Maron didn’t wait until the next shift to express herself.

“That’s what Patty does,” Hedman said. “He’s defending his teammates. He’s not going to take anything. That activated the bench.”

A few other guys took part in the initial workout, exchanging some pushes and shoving around the fight before Maron and Hathaway parted ways. Nick Paul jumped off the bench for a second before his Lightning teammates urged him to return to avoid what could have been an automatic 10-game suspension.

The Capitals took all five minutes, and Sonny Milano – who was kicking a penalty kick from Aubel-Kubel – scored from the penalty area 7 seconds after the Lightning power play ended.

After a few Washington scores, a brawl broke out at the line with 5:40 left in the third with Tampa Bay’s Corey Perry battling Anthony Mantha and teammate Vladislav Namestnikov dropping the gloves with Washington’s Erik Gustafsson. Mixed in with some flops, the incident added up to 26 penalty minutes and ended Gordie Howe’s second career hat-trick – a goal, an assist and a kill.

Expect another chibi game in 48 hours.

“I think it’s going to be the same,” said Kevin McCarthy, who coached the Capitals in Peter Laviolette’s absence. “When you play back-to-back teams there is always something that carries over from the previous game. Especially the way the game went tonight, it was physical on both sides and we expect that again.”

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Follow AP hockey writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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