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Photo credit: Eric Hartline

Fighting in the NHL has been on the decline. It might be on its way out of the sport. Roster spots for goons are dwindling. Nerds have found no evidence that fighting impacts winning.

Yet on Friday night in Philadelphia, the Flyers decided the only way to save face after a figurative beatdown from the Caps was a literal beatdwn. Once Joel Ward scored his hat-trick goal, Wayne Simmonds threw an elbow to incite a fight with Tom Wilson. Ray Emery, Flyers back-up goalie and trained boxer, skated all the way down the ice and started throwing punches at Braden Holtby — even though Holtby declined to fight.

Steve Oleksy then dropped Vincent Lecalvier. Alexander Urbom fought Brayden Schenn. There was also a bit of loud noises from John Carlson.

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Watch John Carlson Get Super Pissed at the Emery ‘Fight’

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Photo credit: Eric Hartline

The Flyers-instigated brawl during Friday night’s game was an ugly scene for the league. Whatever your view of fighting, that a bloodthirsty player could get away with assaulting an unwilling opponent pulls the NHL towards the pro wrestling side of the spectrum. In the moment when Ray Emery attacked fellow goalie Braden Holtby, it was kind of hard to tell the difference between the two.

“He didn’t want to fight,” Emery told Chuck Gormley. “I said, basically, ‘Protect yourself.’ He didn’t really have much of a choice.”

Kind of like a mugging.

The Capitals were outraged that referee Francois St. Laurent let the ‘fight’ go on considering only one participant appeared to be willing.  Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, in particular, was peeved. As he should be.

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Wut. (GIF by welshhockeyfan)

The Washington Capitals destroyed the Philadelphia Flyers. Once Joel Ward scored his hat-trick goal in the third period, the Caps’ 7th of the game, shit got out of hand.

Wayne Simmonds dropped his gloves with Tom Wilson, and that set everything off. In its culmination, Philly goalie Ray Emery skated the length of the ice to pick a fight with Braden Holtby. Emery, a noted goalie pugilist, punched Holtby in the back of the head a few times.

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