The Toronto Maple Leafs pulled out a massive comeback victory in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but before they got there, both teams decided to partake in a massive brawl in the third quarter. While the fight may have inadvertently helped the Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe was not happy after the game.
Several players got involved in the huge fight, with Auston Matthews even getting into it with Steven Stamkos. However, Keefe believed that the refs let the Lightning get away with quite a bit throughout the game, particularly when it came to this fight, and he took shots at both the refs and the Lightning after the game.
“The fight, itself, that’s a classic example of a veteran championship team like Tampa Bay manipulating the officials and taking advantage of a situation, right? The officials literally holding Steven Stamkos with one arm and his other hand — with no glove on — is punching Auston Matthews. Not the linesman, the referee — who calls the penalty — was holding Stamkos while this was happening.” – Sheldon Keefe, ESPN
Even with a victory in his pocket, Keefe was not happy with what he saw during this fight it seems. And given the history between these two teams, and the increased stakes for the Lightning heading into Game 4, it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see their next contest become pretty heated as well. While there may not be a fight like the one we saw in Game 3, it will be interesting to see if these two teams continue to go at each other’s throats as this series progresses.
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