After further review:
I said in the game review that John Tortorella pulled the same crap in Newark earlier in the season that Pete DeBoer pulled last night, causing that staged melee at the start of the game.
Well, for the first time, I was wrong. To a degree.
In the first meeting in Newark, the Rangers started Mike Rupp, Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust, with two non-fighting defensemen.
And that’s not really the same thing. Because as the visiting team sets its starting lineup first, in putting that trio out there the Rangers were then ready in the event that DeBoer started the Ilya Kovalchuk-Zach Parise line—since Prust and Fedotenko regularly are assigned checking roles—and they were ready for rough stuff if DeBoer decided to go that way. It happened that DeBoer started his tough guys that night, too, and Rupp ended up fighting Janssen at 0:03.
So I’m recanting my blame on Tortorella. In the other two games in Newark, he did not start his tough guys.
On the other hand, DeBoer, as the visiting coach who sets the starting lineup first, started his meatheads—and they really aren’t in Prust’s class as players whatsoever—in two Garden games and both resulted in synchronized staged fights.
So DeBoer really should shut up when he talks about Tortorella having no short-term memory or being a hypocrite. He started this one, and the Rangers had a chance to decline but instead chose to engage. And they won the fights and the game.