Rangers vs. Devils opens with line brawl, resulting in eight ejections

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils were quick to choose violence during Wednesday's matchup, engaging in an all-out fight that saw all but two players ejected as soon as the game opened.

Eight players were assessed fighting majors and ejected during the line brawl, which took place right after the puck drop at Madison Square Garden.

The Devils' Curtis Lazar and Rangers' Jimmy Vesey were hit with fighting majors but remained eligible to play as they were ruled to be the "first fight." Every other skater on the ice was ejected because of their "secondary altercations."

The tossed Rangers players included Jacob Trouba, Matt Rempe, K'Andre Miller and Barclay Goodrow. For the Devils, John Marino, Chris Tierney, Kurtis MacDermid and Kevin Bahl were ejected.

New York Rangers right wing Matt Rempe (73) gets punched by New Jersey Devils winger Kurtis MacDermid (23)  during a game Wednesday in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rempe and McDermid sized each other up before descending into their clash, which was potentially the most entertaining. In Rempe's three career games against the Devils, he's been ejected from all three.

Here's an aerial view of the game-opening grudge match:

It didn't take long for Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette and Devils interim coach Travis Green to join in and jaw at each other. They were seen cursing and yelling from their respective benches on the broadcast.

This wasn't the first instance of bad blood between the teams. Laviolette even seemed to foreshadow the chaos during Tuesday's practice.

“We gotta win. The division games are always, I think, a little bit more competitive,” Laviolette said via the New York Post. “When you play inside your division more than you do anyone else, there’s probably a little bit more tension inside those games.”

Wednesday's incident was likely a result of Rempe's actions in two previous encounters with the Devils. During the Rangers' 3-1 win on March 11, the 21-year-old elbowed Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler and gave him a concussion. Rempe was ejected from the game and issued a four-game suspension.

Before that, Rempe was ejected after he hit Devils forward Nathan Bastian during a 5-1 win for the Rangers on Feb. 22.

Of course, Rempe wasn't the only agitator on Wednesday. The Devils and Rangers recorded five scraps within the first two seconds of the game overall. It's the most fights in an NHL game since the Rangers and Washington Capitals combined for six fights on May 5, 2021, per Sportsnet Stats.