Sports | May 3, 2022 12:46 pm

Hockey Game Breaks Out Before Maple Leafs-Lightning Line Brawl in Playoffs

Toronto scored a 5-0 win over Tampa Bay in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Monday night

Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jan Rutta of the Tampa Bay Lightning battle it out
Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jan Rutta of the Tampa Bay Lightning battle it out.
Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty

Prior to any goals being scored in Toronto’s 5-0 win over Tampa Bay in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Kyle Clifford of the Maple Leafs was ejected after receiving a game misconduct for a boarding major against Ross Colton of the Lightning that could draw further interest from NHL Player Safety.

That hit set the tone for the first game in a playoff series that Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe predicted would be “borderline violent” before it began. Following Clifford’s hit and what went down midway through the third period with the game already out of reach for Tampa, Keefe’s prediction was proven to be deadly accurate.

Sparked by a fight between Toronto’s Morgan Rielly and Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta, a line brawl broke out that resulted in those two combatants as well as the Lightning’s Pat Maroon and Corey Perry and Toronto’s Wayne Simmonds and Ilya Lyubushkin heading to the locker rooms with game misconducts. Take a look:

“I thought we handled their physicality well, both in making plays and keeping the puck moving and not getting rattled by it, and then just standing our ground when the nonsense starts late in the third,” Keefe told reporters after the game.

The Leafs have lost seven straight postseason series while the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning have won eight straight series since being swept by the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019 following a 128-point campaign and the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy. Game 2 is Wednesday.