Wild coach Bruce Boudreau dubbed it probably one of the best fights in the NHL this season.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk called it “nuts.”
Others likened it to what used to happen in the 1970s.
“They were just going at it,” winger Jason Zucker said.
Winger Zach Parise concurred.
“That was old school, and I had a front-row seat for it," Parise said. "The sounds that were coming out of that thing, it was nasty. It was a great scrap."
The Nick Seeler-Luke Witkowski battle was also just the momentum swing the Wild seemed to need, as the heavyweight match preceded the team’s 4-1 rally over the Red Wings Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.
“Any way I can contribute to wins, I’ll do it,” Seeler said. “Whether that’s getting on the scoresheet or being plus or being tough in front or stuff like that – any way I can help the team.”
Seeler and Witkowski went toe-to-toe early in the second period after Witkowski almost crushed Parise with a hit. Once the play transitioned into the Detroit end, Seeler and Witkowski squared off – swapping punches to the face for a solid 10 seconds before slowing down and getting pulled apart by the officials.
“He’s a tough customer, and I knew that,” Seeler said. “That’s hockey. It was a good fight. I’m glad it went well.”
The fight, Seeler’s first in the NHL, continues an impressive start to the rookie’s career. Ever since he was ushered from the minors last month, Seeler has appeared in every Wild game – carving out a niche as a defenseman with a physical edge the team is eager to embrace.
“It is a different element for us,” Parise said. “It's important to have those guys that clear the crease a little bit, a little sandpaper in front of the net, cross-checking. Those guys are really appreciated around the locker room; they block shots. I think he's fit in really well for us, and I think I owe him a steak dinner after that scrap. Standing up for teammates, you always appreciate that."
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s win over the Red Wings.
- After slowing down the last two games, the Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund line resurfaced with a four-point effort.
Staal’s game-tying goal notched his 34th of the season, while Zucker added a pair of insurance goals in the third; Granlund assisted on the first of those.
“In Phoenix I thought we started off well, and we kind of tapered off a bit,” Zucker said. “I think Colorado, I don't even know if we need to talk about that. I think we just need to continue to play the right way. We know we're going to be able to make some plays. If we do that, we'll be fine."
- Winger Nino Niederreiter recorded his 200th point with an assist on the game-winning goal from Parise, a fitting reward for a game that looked like one of his better efforts of late.
“I thought he skated pretty good in Arizona,” Boudreau said. “But you could tell he’s getting a little more jump back in his step. Now if we just get him to shoot a little more, then I think he’ll be back to normal.”
- Boudreau said he’d know more on winger Luke Kunin’s status Monday after Kunin was limping after taking a hit.