Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway was kicked out of a game against the Anaheim Ducks after spitting on defenseman Erik Gudbranson during the second period of the victory.
The spitting sequence occurred in the final seconds of the period during the Capitals' 5-2 triumph Monday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
"The refs were trying to break it up and I felt like there were a couple sucker punches thrown and I got one there quick," Hathaway told reporters. "I reacted a bit emotionally and unfortunately spit came out of my mouth after I got sucker punched.
"It has no place. It was an emotional play by me. You don't plan any of that stuff in your head."
Washington had the puck in front of the Anaheim net before several small skirmishes erupted. Play continued until Capitals left wing Brendan Leipsic came flying in and delivered a crushing hit on Ducks center Derek Grant, sending him to the ground. Ducks players then surrounded Leipsic, throwing multiple punches at the Capitals winger. Players from both teams then exploded into a massive brawl.
Hathaway and Gudbranson were separated from the large group, with a referee holding a player in each hand as he pulled them toward the sideline. Gudbranson punched Hathaway in the face before Hathaway spit on Gudbranson, sparking another series of punches.
Several players were penalized for the melee, with Hathaway drawing a match penalty. Gudbrandson drew a 10-minute misconduct penalty. Leipsic drew multiple minor penalties. Grant, Brandon Guhle and Nick Ritchie were also penalized for the exchange.
Hathaway collected his fifth assist of the season just before the fight, helping Chandler Stephenson give the Capitals a 3-0 lead with 34 seconds remaining in the second period. Richard Panik, Alex Ovechkin, Jakub Vrana and Tom Wilson also scored for Washington. Sam Steel and Nicholas Deslauriers lit the lamp for Anaheim.
The Ducks face the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m. EST Thursday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The Capitals face the New York Rangers at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.