Montreal Canadiens defenceman Arber Xhekaj dropped the gloves for the second straight game, this time against heavyweight Nicolas Deslauriers.
The 21-year-old defenceman has not been shy about taking on all comers, but this was his biggest test so far this season.
Having just taken the lead in the game, Xhekaj plastered a Philadelphia Flyers forward against the boards and Nicolas Deslauriers took exception to the hit and immediately dropped the gloves against the towering defenceman.
Xhekaj more than held his own in the fight, but it is getting a little dangerous for the young man, who shouldn’t be pigeon-holed as simply a goon this early in his career.
It’s incredibly entertaining for Montreal Canadiens fans, but he does run the risk of potential injury if he keeps this up; especially with players fighting with their helmets on.
Arber Xhekaj lands a beautiful hit, has to fight Nic Deslauriers over it.
Close, but I think D-Lo gets the nod here. pic.twitter.com/fXJr2VzGYn
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) November 20, 2022
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