It was expected that the play of superstars Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs would have a huge impact on the outcome of Game 3 of the playoff series between the two teams. However, it was not expected the two would engage in a toe-to-toe brawl in the 3rd period of the game.
ABSOLUTE CHAOS HAS ENSUED.
STAMKOS AND MATTHEWS GOING TOE TO TOE.
— Spittin’ Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) April 23, 2023
Yet, that’s just what happened in the heated playoff series. As the Lightning were fighting to hold onto a 3-2 lead late in the game, Brayden Point of the Lightning limped off the ice following a hard fall into the boards after he as hit by Morgan Rielly of the Leafs.
That hit turned up the intensity by 2 or 3 notches, and shortly thereafter, Stamkos and Matthews went at it. Steven Stamkos sought out Matthews and delivered several short punches and appeared to get the best of Matthews, although the Toronto superstar attempted to gain an advantage when the two men were on the ice. It was the first time in NHL history that 2 previous 60-goal scorers engaged each other in a fight.
Tampa Bay had taken a 3-2 lead midway through the second period on a goal by Darren Raddysh, and that goal held up until the late stages of the third period. Toronto forward Ryan O’Reilly won a battle in front of the net and slipped the tying goal by Tampa Bay goalie Andre Vasilvskiy with 1 minute remaining to send the game into overtime.
The two teams split the first two games of the Eastern Conference playoff series in Toronto, with the Lightning winning the opener by a 7-3 margin and the Leafs squaring the series with a 7-2 victory.
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