For the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils Monday night, it was three fights off the opening faceoff.
New York's Stu Bickel, usually a defenseman, took the opening faceoff and dropped the gloves against New Jersey's Ryan Carter. Mike Rupp and Eric Boulton, and Brandon Prust and Cam Janssen also squared off.
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador got a misconduct as he tried to pull Bickel off Carter, resulting in 40 penalty minutes just three seconds into the game.
The Devils, as visiting team, would have submitted their opening lineup first.
Rangers coach John Tortorella yelled at Devils coach Peter DeBoer after the fight.
"He was mad about that?" Janssen told the Newark Star-Ledger. "Why'd he send them out there? He knew what was going on."
The teams have done this before, just upping the ante this time. On Feb. 7, there were fights between Prust and Boulton and Rupp and Janssen two seconds into the game.
In the teams' last meeting on March 6, Carter injured the Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky in a fight.
The Rangers lead the NHL this season with 62 fights, according to Hockeyfights.com, while the Devils rank eighth with 38.
The rest of Monday's game was calm and the Rangers clinched a playoff spot with a 4-2 victory.
March 19, 2012.