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Subban drops gloves with Malkin as frustrations boil over (Video)

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) fights with Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) during the third period of Game 2. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s hard to blame P.K. Subban for wanting to punch Evgeni Malkin in the face.

The Predators were down 4-1 and facing a 2-0 series deficit despite outplaying the Penguins in both games when a scrum ensued behind Nashville’s net. Malkin, who scored Pittsburgh’s fourth goal, started things off by getting in the face of Mattias Ekholm. Subban responded by putting Malkin in a headlock, but the fireworks started after Malkin hit Subban with a gloved jab to the face. It was on after that.

It wasn’t much of a fight, but still an unusual sight to see players drop the gloves this deep into the postseason, much less two superstars like Subban and Malkin.

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What sparked the fight?

“He speaks a little bit of Russian. I played with some Russians too. And I didn’t like what he said, and I said something back, and we went,” he said after Game 2.

Can you translate it for us, P.K.?

“No, I can’t translate it for you.”

This was the 11th fight this postseason, two more than there were during last year’s playoffs and the most since 2012-13 (15). That was also the last time there was a fight in the Stanley Cup Final, when Andrew Shaw and Brad Marchand went at it.

Fighting other stars isn’t that unusual for Malkin, however — the guy seems to have a type.

Besides Subban, the only other NHL players Malkin has fought (according to hockeyfights.com) are Blake Wheeler, Jack Johnson, Travis Hamonic, Patrice Bergeron, Rick Nash and Henrik Zetterberg.

That Zetterberg fight, Malkin’s first in the NHL, also occurred in the Stanley Cup Final — eight years ago to the day.