Oh, how 2020 was a different time.
More specifically, how February 1st, 2020 was a different time.
It was a Battle of Alberta like no other. The drama had been sparked in the month prior between Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk.
You see, the pair had a history, and it came to a head on Jan. 13th of that year.
It happened late in the second period of a game that night between the two clubs. Tkachuk had already caught Kassian earlier in the game with a big hit, and after the second one, Kassian was having none of it. He had jumped up and started throwing punches with Tkachuk famously turtling.
Kassian was suspended for two games, and the lead-up to their next match in late January. And boy, did that game not disappoint.
On Jan. 29, the most unlikely pair in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sean Monahan dropped the gloves with Nuge getting the decision in the first. Then moments later, the main event: Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk.
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The bad blood didn’t dissipate, either. The two teams played again two nights later.
The night got kicked off with Jujhar Khaira fighting Buddy Robinson in the first, and late in the second, the fireworks picked up. Oilers forward Sam Gagner had been digging in the crease for a loose puck, and the Flames took exception. Mark Giordano jumped Gagner prompting the two to exchange some punches. Ethan Bear and Matthew Tkachuk danced, with Bear holding his own surprisingly well.
Mike Smith, meanwhile, was waiting at center ice staring down Talbot prompting the two to fight in a night that will forever live on in the storied rivalry between the two teams.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]
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