Rangers sought retribution in fight-filled affair with Capitals: 'Proud of our guys'
Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The New York Rangers didn't waste any time seeking retribution against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The teams squared off in a trio of fights to begin the game in response to Tom Wilson punching Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head and injuring star winger Artemi Panarin in Monday's meeting.

Just moments later, Wilson, who escaped with just a $5,000 fine for his role in Monday's skirmish, answered the bell against New York rearguard Brendan Smith.

"I had no beef with anybody else on their team," Smith said after the game, according to Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press. "I thought that it should've been handled before this game, and it wasn't, so unfortunately it had to be kind of on my shoulders, and I thought I took it."

Following that bout, another fight ensued between Rangers blue-liner Anthony Bitetto and Capitals forward Michael Raffl.

Even some of the more skilled players got in on the action, with Ryan Strome and Lars Eller squaring off in an unlikely bout.

"When your star player gets tossed around like that, it doesn't matter what type of team you have," Strome said, according to Whyno. "I think the response was appropriate. ... Proud of our guys. I think it says a lot about us."

The sides combined for six fights and 72 penalty minutes just over four minutes into the heated affair. Wilson was later ruled out for the remainder of the game after suffering an upper-body injury late in the first period.

The violence carried over into the second period as well, with Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich receiving a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for a brutal cross-check to the head of Anthony Mantha.

New York released a pointed statement Tuesday calling for George Paros, head of the NHL Department of Player Safety, to be removed from his position for failing to suspend Wilson.

The Rangers surprisingly fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday, saying the club needed "a change in leadership" to "succeed in the manner our fans deserve."

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Rangers sought retribution in fight-filled affair with Capitals: 'Proud of our guys'
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