Sensible, responsible defensive hockey be damned.
What transpired Sunday night between the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs was captivating stuff for just about everyone in attendance at Canada Life Centre.
Except, maybe, for Jets head coach Paul Maurice and Leaf bench boss Sheldon Keefe. It's probably best that both men, strong advocates of tidy work in the D-zone and controlled aggression, click delete on the game film.
Winnipeg has been powered by high-octane fuel the last 72 hours. The NHL club's offence had sputtered the last two weeks but was reignited over the weekend, the latest scoring eruption coming in a 6-3 triumph over Toronto.
"We started a little bit sluggish but after that we were rolling," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler, who assisted on a pair of goals in Game 1,000 of his NHL career "Power play was good, contributions from everyone. It was a good night for us."
The Jets, now 12-8-4, have won consecutive home games — they doubled up on the New Jersey Devils 8-4 on Friday — and moved into second place in the Central Division.
Second-period goals by Andrew Copp, Evgeny Svechnikov, Kyle Connor, with his team-leading 15th, and Nikolaj Ehlers sparked Winnipeg to a 5-1 cushion.
The Jets certainly cared more about minding the store than the Leafs, who gave up a steady stream of odd-man rushes and open looks.
By the midway point of the final period, skill gave way to nastiness as the rivals from the one-off Canadian division last season hacked, wacked and punched their way through garbage time. Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds went hoodlum, taking a ridiculous pot shot a Josh Morrissey with time winding down.
"Today was just a good hockey game, right? It had a little bit of everything in it. There was some energy and emotion, as there should be," Maurice said. "Toronto for sure would be a rivalry as we played them 10 times last year... this game had some leftover from games past. It got a little heated out there, but that’s good."
Neal Pionk caught Rasmus Sandin with an unpenalized knee on knee (possibly to be reviewed by the NHL's department of player safety), and later Jason Spezza tried to get some retribution by taking a run at the Jets blue-liner.
Pierre Luc Dubois started the scoring early for Winnipeg but received just as loud an ovation for his wrestling match with Auston Matthews early in the third.
"Personally, I don't go into a game — maybe some guys do — but I don't go into a game thinking when's my time gonna come to fight or whatever. I just got out and try to be the best player for my team," said Dubois, who scored his 12th and added an assist. "Sometimes, it gets a little rough out there. It's hockey but that's just the way the game is played."
Dubois, Connor and Mark Scheifele, in the third period, all beat rooke goalie Joseph Woll to give Winnipeg's much-maligned power play a boost.
"It's like everything else. You shoot a whole bunch of pucks and they don't go for you and you start to lose some confidence and you get one (Friday) and then the first one (by Dubois) was really, really important because our pace was right and we were right straight through it so you have a big night on it," said Maurice. "The confidence is a really important factor on the power play because when you're a confident group you just go faster. It just makes everything else better so hopefully we can carry that with us into Carolina."
The Jets conclude a four-game homestand Tuesday against the Hurricanes (16-6-1).
Woll, who entered the game with a perfect 3-0 record to begin his career, was shelled with 41 shots. Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves.
Toronto, coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Wild on Saturday in Minnesota, dropped to 17-7-2.
In the second period, Copp began the onlslaught with his seventh of year, coming on a breakaway at 1:51 after a long pass from Pionk, to snap a 1-1 tie.
Woll robbed Connor on a Jets' three-on-one, but 40 seconds later Svechnikov padded the lead on a two-on-one, firing a bullet past Woll. Connor wasn't denied on his next chance, with the Leafs on the penalty kill. He ripped the puck back-bar, which shot out faster than the goal judge could react.
Ehlers then finished off a give-and-go with Copp for his ninth of the season.
The listless Leafs, roused by a couple of late power-play chances, trimmed the lead on goals by Auston Matthews and Ondrej Kase before the second period was done. Michael Bunting scored a first-period goal for the visitors.
Toronto worked without the services of Mitch Marner, who sat out his second consecutive game with an undisclosed injury. The elite forward was involved in a collision with teammate Jake Muzzin during Friday's practice.
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).