Fighters in hockey are a dying breed, but one of the best is alive and well in Ottawa, and he just challenged an entire roster team to a fight. As the second period of Monday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings drew to a close, Senators captain Brady Tkachuk slid down the visitors’ bench hoping to cause many of them to drop their gloves. .
Tkachuk was clearly feeling confident after 40 minutes of action in which he scored an electrifying goal and peppered Red Wings goalkeeper Magnus Hellberg with eight shots.
No Red Wings player took up Tkachuk’s offer, and we really don’t blame them. He’s played fewer than 350 games in his career, but we’ve already seen players immediately get bummed out when they realize they have to fight Tkachuk on the ice.
It’s who he is and his the reputation is deserved.
If I could design a quintessential Tkachuk game, it might be Monday’s: a well-timed goal that ultimately helped Ottawa to a 6-2 win over a team the Sens are trying to edge out in the playoff race, all while being the physical and direct player that he has been since he stepped foot in the NHL.
Senators head coach DJ Smith had high praise for the 23-year-old after the game.
“He came to play today” smith said. “He’s played a lot of games, a lot of minutes against the best defenders ever. There were a couple of games where he really raised his game and this is one of them. He was emotionally connected, I would say.”
With this victory, the Tkachuk-led Senators are now just five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card seed in the Eastern Conference, but there are four other teams between them. Ottawa has slowly been brought into the conversation for that final postseason berth.
In 59 games this season, Tkachuk has scored 25 goals and 62 points.