The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs engaged in a series of fights during the third period of their Game 3 match on Saturday night. The penalty sheet was filled with a long list of NHL All-Stars after the order was restored. The brawl caused a delay during a critical game that the Lightning was leading 3-2 at the time. Even Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Toronto’s Auston Matthews, both players with multiple NHL awards, fought during the sequence.
Maple Leafs Win in Overtime
The Maple Leafs managed to tie the game at the end of regulation and won 4-3 in overtime to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference First Round series. The celebration came after a unique sequence of brawls that looked more like a regular-season game. Play was interrupted for several minutes while officials sorted out the wild sequence that began with Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly pushing Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point into the boards.
Keefe Displeased with Officials
The hit started a series of skirmishes, including one involving Stamkos and Matthews. The two players were sent to the penalty box for fighting, but they weren’t the only stars who were flagged for their actions. Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe expressed his displeasure with the officials in his postgame news conference. He accused Tampa Bay of manipulating the officials and taking advantage of the situation. Keefe was also vocal about the Stamkos-Matthews end of the sequence and criticized the officials for holding Stamkos while he punched Matthews.
The rough-and-tumble Maple Leafs battled back even when they were down a goal and outplayed for much of the night. The team found a way to reclaim home-ice advantage, with Ryan O’Reilly scoring with a minute left in regulation and later winning a faceoff that set up Rielly’s goal at 19:15 of overtime that gave the Maple Leafs the win. The team has not won a playoff series since 2004 and is 0 for 7 in its last seven postseason matchups, including first-round exits each of the past six years.
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