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Four Maple Leafs Quick Hits: Clifford, Bunting, Simmonds & Matthews

The Toronto Maple Leafs won Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. What were some of the impacts of that game? Who’ll play tonight?

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits, I’ll take a look at some of the action emerging from Game 1 of the first-round playoff series between the Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Maple Leafs won Game 1 by a score of 5-0 and hope to extend their lead tonight on home ice.

Related: Three Takeaways from the Maple Leafs 5-0 Game 1 Win Over the Lightning

Quick Hit One: Kyle Clifford Suspended for a Game

Almost seven minutes into the game, Maple Leafs’ physical forward Kyle Clifford decided to hit one of the Lightning players (Ross Colton) while he was close to the sideboards. The puck had gone well past the player and there seemed no reason to back-siding the player except that Clifford got carried away in the heat of the moment. 

Clifford was given a five-minute boarding major penalty and game misconduct penalty for his hit. Yesterday, Clifford had a hearing with the NHL Player Safety Commission and was subsequently suspended for a game. He’ll serve that suspension tonight. However, he will be eligible to play on Friday.

Quick Hit Two: Michael Bunting Seems Likely to Play Tonight

Michael Bunting had what was called an “undisclosed” injury (it was a lower-body injury, specifically he tweaked something with his leg) and has missed a number of games. However, he practiced yesterday and reported that he felt “good” during the practice.

MIchael Bunting Toronto Maple Leafs

It seems as if Bunting will play tonight and will also likely take Alex Kerfoot’s place on the first line. He skated with first-line partners Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner during Tuesday’s skate. 

Although Bunting hasn’t been cleared yet to play – insofar as I’ve heard, that he was skating with his regular line is a good sign. The rookie winger had missed four games. It will be good to see him creating havoc in front of the opposition’s net. 

Quick Hit Three: Wayne Simmonds Has Been Fined for His On-Ice Conduct

Wayne Simmonds was fined for taking part in the scrum later in Game 1 and was fined $2,250 by the NHL for “unsportsmanlike conduct.” Simmonds has also given a 10-minute misconduct penalty during the game. 

It was a physical game, and both teams combined for 113 penalty minutes during the game. The Maple Leafs did a great job killing penalties and rendered the Lightning power play ineffective – Tampa Bay finished the game a collective 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

Quick Hit Four: Auston Matthews Describes His Team’s Physical Play

It seemed to me that the Maple Leafs more than held their own on the physical aspect of the game. When asked about it, Matthews simply noted that the team was “Standing up for each other.” 

Auston Matthews UD Card Toronto Maple Leafs MVP
Auston Matthews UD Card Toronto Maple Leafs MVP

Matthews also noted that he “thought we played through the contact, we played through a long five-minute penalty kill there. Our penalty kill was huge Matthews thought it “brought us a lot of momentum.”

Related: Oilers’ McDavid vs. Maple Leafs’ Matthews: Who Will Win the Hart Trophy? 



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