Nikita Zadorov crushes Jayce Hawryluk with massive hit, challenges entire Panthers bench to fight


  • Nikita Zadorov was essentially a one-man wrecking crew on Wednesday night in Denver and he refused to back down.
  • He was even willing to fight the entire Florida Panthers bench.
  • The big Colorado Avalanche defenseman is an imposing presence at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds and he’s known for throwing that size around pretty effectively.
  • The big Russian used it to his advantage during the Avs’ matchup against the Panthers, wreaking plenty of havoc in the process.
  • The biggest victim of Zadorov’s destruction was Florida forward Jayce Hawryluk, who may have bit off more than he could chew by poking and prodding the Avs’ defenseman.
  • After Zadorov put Hawryluk in a headlock during a scrum, the much-smaller (5-foot-11, 196 pounds) Panthers forward had some choice words for the big man.
  • Zadorov later answered that jawing by absolutely destroying Hawryluk with one of the biggest hits we’ve seen this NHL season.
  • During the third period, Hawryluk lunged in an attempt to clear a rolling puck out of the Panthers’ defensive zone.
  • Though he did manage to get his stick on the puck and clear the zone, he paid a huge price. Zadorov, who was patrolling near the blue line, unloaded on an exposed Hawryluk a split second after the clear, sending Hawryluk violently into the boards.
  • Not surprisingly, Hawryluk was visibly shaken up and exited the game in the aftermath of the collision.
  • He didn’t return.
  • The Panthers’ bench wasn’t happy with the hit and the fact that it went unpenalized, though it didn’t appear to be particularly illegal or dirty.
  • Hawryluk put himself in a vulnerable position by lunging for the puck while Zadorov approached and the principle point of contact appeared to be Hawryluk’s shoulder.
  • Regardless, the Panthers still took Zadorov’s number and brought a little extra nasty the rest of the way.
  • Later in the third, Florida winger Dryden Hunt checked Zadorov along the benches and got into some extracurriculars.
  • Zadorov gave him a light cross-check, Hunt responded with a slash and Zadorov then returned the favor.
  • That exchange then reached a boiling point with Zadorov challenging Hunt and leaving him almost no choice but to drop the gloves.
  • However, Zadorov didn’t seem satisfied with the way that fight played out and, in its wake, he challenged the Panthers’ entire bench for his pound of flesh.

  • You can argue the Panthers got the last laugh, however, as that sequence landed Zadorov with a misconduct (as well as roughing and slashing minors), taking him off the ice for the remainder of the game.
  • Florida managed to climb back from a late deficit to force overtime and win it in sudden death.
Sources & Credits: Pete Blackburn, CBS Sports

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