Boston Bruins winger Nick Foligno and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds kicked off the much-anticipated Atlantic Division match Saturday night at TD Garden with an instant fight of the year candidate.
In what sadly has become the norm in the NHL, a solid, clean hit by Simmonds on Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo meant Simmonds had to drop the gloves. The 34-year-old, 6-foot-2, 184-pound Simmonds was more than happy to oblige though when his former Maple Leafs teammate Nick Foligno (35 yrs old, 6-feet, 210 pounds), came knocking 2:43 into regulation.
Wayne Simmonds and Nick Foligno drop 'em just minutes in 🥊 pic.twitter.com/9gFXNb9fYO
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) January 15, 2023
Wayne Simmonds held a noticeable edge early on in what turned into a marathon bout landing some clean and heavy blows to Foligno’s face. Big credit to Foligno though as the veteran winger shook off the early punches that landed and started to unload on Simmonds. The two combatants and off-ice buddies weren’t done though as they glided over, throwing punches and entangled towards the boards. At that point it became survival of the fittest as Simmonds and Foligno went toe-to-toe and each at one point waved off the referees from breaking it up. As the fight hit the one minute mark though, both Simmonds and Foligno locked up and the referees stepped in.
The fight got and already rocking TD Garden even louder but it was the Maple Leafs who seemed to feed off the fight more. With Foligno and Simmonds recovering in the penalty box, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy was called for tripping at 4:01. Just 44 seconds later, Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting put his team up 1-0 with a powerplay goal and his 14th lamplighter of the season.