TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs kicked off their first-round NHL playoff series against Tampa Bay with a bang on Monday night with a 5-0 victory over the Lightning.
Here’s a look at five things from before, during and after Game 1:
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe predicted a “borderline violent” series between Tampa Bay and Toronto.
Both teams delivered in a rough-and-tumble opener that was loaded with physicality, a steady stream of players to the penalty box, and even an old- school line brawl in the third period.
Toronto had 62 penalty minutes while Tampa Bay finished with 51.
Kyle Clifford’s boarding major and game misconduct in the first period could have been costly against the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning power play.
Instead, it was the Maple Leafs who had the better chances during the five-minute penalty.
Alex Kerfoot beat Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy less than a minute into the penalty kill but the puck hit the post and stayed out.
The Lightning managed only two shots on net during the power play. Tampa Bay took a pair of minor penalties later in the stanza but Toronto couldn’t convert.
Toronto goaltender Jack (Soupy) Campbell earned his second career playoff shutout with 24 saves.
He stoned Brandon Hagel with a glove save with less than four minutes to go to help preserve the clean sheet.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 33 shots in the Tampa Bay net.
Lightning forward Steven Stamkos – a native of nearby Markham, Ont., – took advantage of some home cooking on the weekend before Game 1.
“I got to go over to my parents’ house for dinner,” Stamkos said. “That’s different. I haven’t done that on the road in the playoffs before. It’s always great. A home-cooked meal – it’s the best, right?”
This is the first time that Tampa Bay and Toronto have met in a playoff series. Stamkos was the NHL’s first star of the month for April after recording 33 points in 16 games.
The three Canadian NHL teams that reached the post-season are all starting the opening round on home ice.
Game 2 in the Toronto-Tampa Bay series goes Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena.