The Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators will not be meeting each other in the playoffs, as the Senators will not be there, but Tuesday night’s game had the feel – and most notably the aggression of a playoff game.  Despite there being little at stake, with the Lightning holding the top spot in the Atlantic Division and the Sens essentially playing just for pride at this point, the two teams fought tooth and nail for every inch of the ice, often ignoring the whistle and continuing to push and shove long after the officials blew the play dead.  
On multiple occasions, this spilled over into a full-on fight despite the referees’ best efforts, such as when they got in between 36-year-old Corey Perry and 22-year-old Brady Tkachuk during a scrum midway through the first period in what would have been an intriguing battle between young and old. 
Minutes later, Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev got pushed down in front of the net by Lightning Center Ross Colton, instigating another scrum after the whistle in a game that seemed destined to erupt into violence.   
Cooler heads prevailed until the second period when multiple fights broke out on the ice with Patrick Maroon vs. Josh Brown as the main event.  The two heavyweights traded blows while Erik Cernak, Corey Perry, Brady Tkachuk, and Colin White all mixed it up on the ice, finally letting out some of the steam that seemed to be building from the onset of the game:

Apparently, this wasn’t enough to appease everyone as Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli and Ottawa’s Alex Formenton dropped the gloves late with just under six minutes left in the third:

And with just over a minute left, we got more of the same:

The Lightning went on to win the game 5-2 for their 5th straight victory, while the Sens have now lost four of their last five games.  Unfortunately, these two teams are not scheduled to play each other again this season, so we will have to wait until next year for any possible continuation of this bad blood – barring a miracle run by the Senators to make the playoffs.

Photo Credit: © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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