David Pastrnak vs Matthew Tkachuk fight
(Screenshot/ ESPN)

David Pastrnak fighting Matthew Tkachuk is why we love playoff hockey.

Pastrnak dropped the gloves with Tkachuk during a heated Game 2 between the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers on Wednesday night. The game turned ugly in the third period as Florida got up by multiple goals.

Tensions reached a boiling point in the third period when multiple skirmishes broke out, resulting in 10-minute misconducts for Pat Maroon and Nick Cousins. Just 38 seconds later, Brandon Montour scored to make it 6-1 and mocked Brad Marchand, leading to another scuffle.

Pastrnak vs Marchand Fight

Pastrnak and Tkachuk dropped the gloves at the 12:42 mark of the third period. Tkachuk, known for his agitating style, issued the fight challenge, which Pastrnak surprisingly accepted.

Tkachuk got the better of Pastrnak, landing several heavy rights before bringing down the Czech forward to the ice. Many fans didn’t appreciate that Tkachuk threw extra punches once Pasta was already down. Tkachuk broke an unwritten rule in the hockey world by punching a defenseless player.

Proud Keith Tkachuk

Perhaps the best part of the Pastrnak vs Tkachuk fight was just how proud Keith Tkachuk looked in the stands. Cameras caught the 52-year-old clapping and admiring his son’s performance against Pastrnak in the scrap.

During his 18-season NHL career, Keith Tkachuk was known as an elite power forward. He consistently scored while playing a physical, aggressive style—like father, like son, as they often say.

What Caused the Fight

While some NHL fights tend to happen without rhyme or reason, we know exactly what caused this bout. Sportsnet cameras captured Tkachuk asking Pastrnak to fight, and the Bruins’ forward agreed. They told each other they would drop ’em on the next shift.

“He was asking me, so I felt like I had to step up also,” Pastrnak explained postgame. “I’m not afraid of him. I can take a punch. I’d do anything for these guys here.”

Coaches, Players React to Fight

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery expressed pride in Pastrnak for standing up for himself and his teammates.

“I’m proud of Pasta,” Montgomery said. “There are so many guys out there pushing after the whistles when the linesmen are there. Tkachuk and Pasta, they just went out there and fought. That’s what you like. You like your hockey players to be competitors.”

However, Montgomery took issue with some late punches thrown by Tkachuk as Pastrnak was going down, calling them “not part of the game.”

Panthers bench boss Paul Maurice had a different take, praising the fight as good for the sport. “You’re going to see that on the highlights over and over again,” Maurice said. “I thought it was awesome.”

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky called it “a great fight” between “two leaders going against each other.”