As far as personal rivalries go, the NHL arguably hasn’t had one better than Drew Doughty vs. Matthew Tkachuk over the past couple of years. That rivalry got another chapter on Tuesday night as the Flames and Kings met for the first time this season, and what a chapter it was.

This time, it was Doughty getting the last laugh…and then some. 

The matchup brought plenty fireworks and dramatics, and both players came up big for their respective teams in big moments. With the Kings leading 3-2 late in the third period, Tkachuk managed to net an equalizer with a little over a minute remaining in regulation — with Doughty on the ice, no less. 

That goal from Tkachuck, his second of the game, was a brilliant display of hand-eye coordination, although it was a bit controversial due to the high stick that made it possible. Tkachuk appeared to put his stick on the puck above shoulder level before tipping it to himself and batting it out of mid-air and into the back of the air. It was ruled a good goal, and it would send the game into overtime. 

Once the game hit OT, it was Doughty’s turn to answer Tkachuk and come through in the clutch. The Kings veteran defenseman would score the game-winner during a 4-on-3 power play opportunity extra frame, and you could say that he was quite excited to put the nail in the coffin for Tkachuk and the Flames. 

Immediately after scoring the game-winner, Doughty skated over to the corner boards and slammed the glass directly in front of several Flames fans. One of those fans greeted Doughty with a double finger salute, and the defenseman answered back with a strong gesture and message (warning: NSFW audio) of his own. 

It was a beautiful display of taunting from Doughty, who clearly had a little extra emotion and adrenaline as a result of the existing rivalry.

It’s well-documented that Doughty and Tkachuk are not fond of one another. They’ve been going at it since 2017, when the Flames’ then-rookie forward delivered a brutal elbow to Doughty’s face during a game in Calgary. That incident sparked bad blood between the two sides — both on the ice and in the media — and the tensions haven’t exactly eased in the years since.

The animosity always seems to raise the stakes when the two teams meet. This time was no different. Even though the Kings reportedly wanted Doughty to lay low and avoid prodding Tkachuk ahead of Tuesday’s matchup, Doughty just couldn’t resist when he was asked about the young Flames star.

“I think we both know who the better player is, so if he wants to compliment me first, I’ll give him one back,” said Doughty earlier in the week. 

After delivering the dagger in Tuesday’s game, Doughty downplayed personal rivalry aspect, saying it was more about the team win. He also proposed something of a truce, suggesting that this could be the final chapter in the book of Doughty vs. Tkachuk. Of course, such a proposal is easier to consider when you’ve just come out on the winning side and gotten the last laugh. 

As it turns out, Tkachuk didn’t seem nearly as interested in letting bygones be bygones. 

Tkachuk’s apparent refusal to let this battle die should come as welcome news to fans on either side, as well as to fans on no side at all. Sports are more fun with heels and hate because they help to heighten emotions and raise entertainment value, and Tuesday’s fiery battle in Calgary was a prime example of that. 


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