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GOTTA SEE IT: Canadiens Xhekaj Demolishes Smith In Fight

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Canadiens defenceman arber xhekaj fight

Montreal Canadiens rookie Arber Xhekaj has engaged in yet another tussle, this time against Florida Panthers forward Givani Smith.

The game featured a multitude of dirty hits, fights, and questionable decisions by the referees, leading to a predictably chaotic third period, which included three fights.

As has been he case throughout the year, Xhekaj’s opponent did not last very long, and is probably regretting his decision to invite Xhekaj to the dance floor.

Xhekaj landed a series of rights that quickly downed Smith, although it’s worth noting he kept his left glove on prior to engaging, and actually refused to fight Smith earlier in the game, pointing to a possible hand injury.

The injury speculation aside, it was a fairly easy win for Xhekaj, who continues to climb the NHL’s tough guy rankings, having lost perhaps one fight since joining the NHL.

Xhekaj taken on all comers so far this season, with Pat Maroon, Adam Lowry, Zack Kassian and more. At no point has Xhekaj ever chosen to pick on a smaller player or needlessly chase after a fight.

The enforcers of the NHL seem to all gravitate toward him, and Arber Xhekaj isn’t one to back down from a challenge since joining the Montreal Canadiens as an undrafted rookie defenceman.

Beyond being one of the bes stories in the NHL, and an important member of the Canadiens’ defensive squad, Xhekaj is quickly burgeoning into one of the league’s most physical and punishing defenceman and is one of the biggest surprises of the season in the National Hockey League.

See the rest of Arber Xhekaj’s fights in the NHL this season:

January 17 – Xhekaj vs Adam Lowry

January 12 – Xhekaj vs Tanner Jeannot

December 17 –  Xhekaj vs Pat Marroon

November 19 – Xhekaj vs Nicolas Deslauriers

November 17 – Xhekaj vs Mathieu Olivier

October 20 – Xhekaj vs Zach Kassian

 

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Tyrone

I think he does best in his fights when he attacks quickly and starts throwing right away. That’s how he destroyed Kassian. When he waits and tussles in a more traditional staged fight, he still does well, but it isn’t total domination like when he goes right at a guy. I’d like to see him use this technique more often.

Billy739

I just re-watched every fight
Its not quite that simplistic.

When he outsize’s them he has his biggest issues with balance.
He goes 0-60 in 2.4 seconds shooting right through them
Rather than take a more balanced approach like a Tie Domi
Xhekaj is more of a Berzerker style Fighter like Probert, Primeau or Mcsorely.

That’s really his only weakness.
In the Deslauriers fight it was never more obviously
Xhekaj was trying to overpower Deslauriers
Rather then fight it Deslauriers instead helped Xhekaj
He was just smart enough to make sure while Xhekaj fought for a takedown.
Deslaurier fought to ensure he was on top when they hit the Ice.

Nothing about Xhekaj vs Deslauriers said Deslauriers had cause for a Tie.
The reason he was awarded one was because he had mount position to end it.
But again Smaller Fighters in his weight class is where Xhekaj struggles.

Big guys like Kassian he just has to outmuscle.
Like he said in camp “during the pandemic i could only work at Costco , lift weights and train” so he came in jacked adding 12 lbs of muscle according to the Athletic’s Basu in the per season interviews after his memorial cup run when he asked him the impact of having that off year.

Xhekaj was built average before the Pandemic working on his shot and strength really exclusively while in lockdown. Now he leads Blue Line rookies in Goals and PIM. Its pretty easy to understand the correlations between the two and also who people in the Light Heavyweight class give Xhekaj a bit of trouble as they’re often more disciplined and true hockey players important to their teams success.

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