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The NHL’s hit of the year popped a helmet, baited a penalty, and started a fight

Jacob Trouba hit the defender trifecta.

I’m not sure anyone had a Sunday night game between the Rangers and Flames circled as a must-watch, but my God did it become one. New York eventually survived a Calgary comeback to win 5-4 in overtime, but the moment everyone is talking about on Monday is this hit from Jacob Trouba on Nazem Kadri.

This was the second of two massive (clean) hits by Trouba, and the second time in the game he absolutely baited the Flames into action. Feeling the need to defend their All Star center, the Flames rushed to Kadri’s defense and got hit not once, but twice with instigation penalties.

The hit on Kadri has to represent the ultimate defender’s hat trick. You hit a dude so hard his helmet pops off (and stay clean doing it), you bait your opponent into a penalty that helps your team, then when you drop gloves you absolutely dominate the fight.