Rangers center Matt Rempe fights Devils defenseman Kurtis MacDermid just after the...

Rangers center Matt Rempe fights Devils defenseman Kurtis MacDermid just after the opening faceoff in the first period at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Credit: Brad Penner

GREENBURGH — One by one, from all corners of the dressing room, themes emerged:

None of what took place between the Rangers and Devils at the Garden Wednesday night was arranged.

Rather, it was spontaneous. Organic. And perhaps a galvanizing moment for a team whose aspirations are to play into late June.

“Unity,” Jacob Trouba said following Thursday morning’s optional practice at the MSG Training Center, when asked what the game-opening line brawl against the Devils in the 4-3 win meant for the Rangers. “We’re in this thing together. We’re a group. We’re a team. We’re a family. Whatever words you want to use. We’re all in this thing together.”

Trouba was one of five Rangers players — along with defense partner K’Andre Miller, Jimmy Vesey, Barclay Goodrow and Matt Rempe — who fought the New Jersey fivesome of Chris Tierney, Curtis Lazar, John Marino, Kevin Bahl and Kurtis MacDermid two seconds into the game.

What precipitated the brawl was the Devils’ ire for Rempe.

The Devils had initially been upset about the rookie right winger’s thunderous hit on Nathan Bastain in the first period of the Rangers’ 5-1 win on Feb. 11 at Prudential Center. Bastain has not played since.

Exactly one month later, Rempe elbowed Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in the head late in the second period of the Rangers’ 3-1 win on March 11. Following the hit, linesmen kept MacDermid away from Rempe, who waved at the Devils’ bench.

The NHL suspended Rempe four games for elbowing Siegenthaler. Rempe has said that the hit was accidental.

With Wednesday night’s match being the last time in the 2023-24 season the rivals would meet — barring a miraculous run by the Devils to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoff field — Rempe said he knew that a fight with MacDermid was inevitable, even before New Jersey’s enforcer challenged him.

“MacDermid said we’re going right now,” Rempe said.

Unbeknownst to Rempe and the rest of the starting lineup was the NHL rule that states game misconduct penalties “shall be imposed on any player who is assessed a major penalty for fighting after the original altercation.”

And since the first fight was a bout between Vesey and Lazar, the remaining eight players — Miller, Goodrow, Trouba and Rempe for the Rangers; Tierney, Marino, Bahl and MacDermid for the Devils — were ejected from the game.

“I didn’t know the rule,” Miller said. “It just happened so fast. We were laughing in the [penalty] box, just kind of like, ‘What the heck just happened?’ and next thing you know the refs are coming over saying, ‘You guys are done.’ ”

Following the game, Devils interim coach Travis Green said the line brawl was unexpected and would have been avoided had Rempe fought MacDermid at some point during the March 11 contest.

Instead, it took place in the final regular-season game of the 2023-24 Hudson River Rivalry. And according to Trouba, neither team held on-ice negotiations during warmups in order to agree to the fight.

“When the lineups were read you kind of knew [Rempe and MacDermid were] going to be out there and everything just kind of transpired from there,” Trouba said. “It wasn’t predetermined or anything; just kind of happened how it happened.”

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