Montreal Canadiens defenceman Arber Xhekaj dropped the gloves yet again, this time against Mathieu Olivier of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The 21-year-old defenceman has not been shy about taking on all comers and he two players were seemingly looking for eachother all game.
After the Montreal Canadiens tied up the game, coming back from a 2-0 deficit, Olivier and Xhekaj dropped the gloves and put on a respectable show; albeit not one of Xhekaj’s most prolific tilts.
I am calling this one a split decision for Arber Xhekaj pic.twitter.com/kgSQddNdIa
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) November 18, 2022
Xhekaj has made a habit out of using his fists this season to defend his teammates and give his team some much-needed momentum.
In games where he continues to learn the pace and speed in the NHL, he continues to gain the approval of his temmates and the fans with his physical play and the obvious rough stuff.
Building a reputation
Xhekaj is starting to make quite a name for himself in the NHL. He’s already gained the everlasting attention of the entire Ottawa Senators organization when he knocked out prospect Zach Massicotte during the Prospect Challenge Tournament in Buffalo.
The former Costco employee also squared up with Zack Kassian, and the result was nothing short of a dominant display by the Canadiens defenceman.
That was Xhekaj’s first official regular season fight in the NHL and Kassian‘s 40th, but the fight didn’t last long, with Xhekaj landing a couple of clean right hooks right off the bat. Kassian quickly reacted to the unreasonable amount of pain sent his way, but couldn’t escape the Xhekaj barrage, which then shifted to body shots.
At 6’4″, 240lbs, Xhekaj isn’t the biggest player in the National Hockey League, but he may very well be on his way to becoming the toughest, especially if he continues to ragdoll NHL veterans as he did with Kassian.
— Nathan “Grav" (@NathanGraviteh) October 20, 2022