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Tkachuk: Fighting Kassian was a way to 'stick up for myself'

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk wasn't trying to do anyone a favor when he dropped the mitts with Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian during his club's 4-3 shootout win Wednesday night.

"I just didn't like getting kinda pummelled at home like I did," Tkachuk said postgame, according to Wes Gilbertson of Calgary Sun. "A lot of people didn't want me to do it, but I wanted to. It was a way for me to stick up for myself. It wasn't anything to do with owing anybody. I was just doing it for myself."

Tkachuk laid some heavy hits during the last meeting between the two sides Jan. 11, which resulted in Kassian pounding the Flames forward before calling him out postgame for refusing to fight back. Kassian was consequently handed a two-game suspension.

This time, however, Tkachuk was more than willing to settle the score, and the Oilers forward appreciated his rival answering the bell.

"He wanted to fight right away, but I wanted to keep him guessing a little bit," Kassian said, according to the Edmonton Sun's Rob Tychkowski. "I respect him for stepping up. I told him before we even dropped the gloves, 'Now it's over.' I wish this would have happened in the first place and then it would have been done."

The Battle of Alberta continues Saturday when the Flames and Oilers meet in Calgary.

Tkachuk: Fighting Kassian was a way to 'stick up for myself'
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