Steven Stamkos drags Auston Matthews into Leafs-Lightning brawl

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Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe was each proud and livid after Auston Matthews’ first profession NHL combat in a 4-Three additional time victory over the Lightning in Toronto on Saturday.

With 14:56 left within the third interval and in Recreation Three of the primary spherical playoff sequence with the Lightning up 3–2, the referees have been pressured to separate the gamers after Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov jumped on Toronto’s Morgan Reilly in retaliation for hitting Brayden. have been making an attempt to Work arduous on the boards.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos skated previous Matthews whereas speaking to a referee and grabbed the American famous person, who was elevating his puck from the ice.

Stamkos, who already had his left glove off, started hitting Matthews with that uncovered left hand, earlier than Matthews had sufficient and gave Stamkos what he wished, Stamkos threw Matthews off the ice. dropped down from

A referee jumped over Matthews to attempt to separate the 2 gamers, whereas Stamkos fired just a few further pictures together with his proper hand.

based on sportsnetThe combat was the primary between gamers who every had 60-goal seasons of their careers.

“This can be a basic instance of an skilled, championship crew like Tampa Bay manipulating officers and benefiting from the state of affairs, is not it?” Keefe stated. “They know we’ll be on the facility play principally already due to the (Nikita) Kucherov state of affairs, so it is a free for all. They will do no matter they need, and so they simply know which approach to go.” Play is known as, they are not going to get one other penalty.

“You look again at that sequence, to say we should not have been on 5-on-3, I imply, the official actually held Steven Stamkos down with one hand and his different hand with out a glove. Auston is punching Matthews. The referee who calls the penalty, not the linesman, was holding Stamkos whereas this was taking place.

Steven Stamkos (91) of the Lightning and Auston Matthews (34) of the Maple Leafs combat within the third interval on April 22, 2023.
NHLI by way of Getty Photographs

Steven Stamkos of the Lightning (91) punches out Auston Matthews (34) of the Maple Leafs in the third period on April 22, 2023.
Steven Stamkos of the Lightning (91) punches out Auston Matthews (34) of the Maple Leafs within the third interval on April 22, 2023.
Getty Photographs

A fight has broken out between Steven Stamkos of the Lightning (91) and Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs (34) in the third period on April 22, 2023.
A combat has damaged out between Steven Stamkos of the Lightning (91) and Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs (34) within the third interval on April 22, 2023.
AP

Keefe, who stated he beloved how Matthews “stood up for himself,” then pointedly known as it a “incredible” play by the Lightning.

After evaluation Reilly was not assessed a penalty for boarding as Level left the ice in ache.

Seven penalties have been assessed and the Maple Leafs had an influence play, however then they have been with out Matthews, who was despatched to the penalty field for a combating main.

Toronto couldn’t convert on the man-advantage, however Ryan O’Reilly tied the sport with a minute left in regulation, earlier than Morgan Reilly scored with 45 seconds left in additional time to provide the Maple Leafs a 2–1 sequence lead. .

Stamkos stated he was reacting to Reilly’s hit on level.

“You see the most effective gamers on the earth go to the entrance of the board. There needs to be a response,” Stamkos informed reporters. “If Mitch Marner or Mathews have been in the identical place, I’d count on the identical from their group. That is playoff hockey. Thats simply the best way it’s.”

The 25-year-old Matthews scored his first aim of the sequence within the first interval to place Toronto forward 2–1.

He adopted his 60-goal, 106-point 2021-22 season with 40 targets and 45 assists this season.

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