Nick Foligno explains why he fought Corey Perry
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The Montreal Canadiens took Game 1 of their North Division playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday evening. Josh Anderson opened the scoring in the first period, and Paul Byron scored an unreal shorthanded goal in the third period to lead Montreal to a 2-1 victory.

The game is unfortunately overshadowed by a brutal injury to John Tavares in the first period. The Maple Leafs’ captain had to be stretchered off the ice after taking an inadvertent knee to the head from Montreal Canadiens’ forward Corey Perry.

The incident appeared to be completely incidental, with Perry not even seeing Tavares fall to the ground before clipping him. If you want to see the injury video with replays, you can watch it here (warning: NSFW).

Despite the sequence appearing to be a freak accident, Maple Leafs’ forward Nick Foligno still took it upon himself to drop the gloves with Perry on the next shift.

Many fans were confused as to why Foligno would go after Perry for a play that appeared like a clear accident upon reviewing replay.

Foligno gave an explanation to why he fought Perry when asked by reporters in his post-game Zoom conference.

“Our captain is laying on the ice, said Foligno.” They would have done the same if (it was) their captain. (The hit) wasn’t malicious. (The fight) takes away any grey (area). Perry’s a big boy. It just allows everyone to go back and play.”

Perry was also asked about the sequence in his post-game presser and stated that it was completely incidental on his part.

“I tried to jump over him and unfortunately I caught my knee on his head,” said Perry. “I don’t know what else to do there…I know Johnny pretty well. I hope he’s OK.”

The latest news on Tavares is that he’s conscious and communicating well. He’ll remain in hospital overnight. Tests have come back “clear”, according to Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe.

You can appreciate Foligno sticking up for a fallen teammate, but it’s certainly debatable if fighting Perry over an accident was the right move.