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Watch: Maple Leafs, Lightning tussle in big brawl in Stanley Cup playoff opener

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May 3 (UPI) — Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning players funneled playoff intensity into a giant melee in the third period of their first-round meeting.

The scuffle started with about 10 minutes remaining in the Maple Leafs’ 5-0 Game 1 win Monday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored two goals and assisted another score in the lopsided win.

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“We were just standing up for each other, that’s what we all got out of it,” Matthews told reporters. “We aren’t backing down. We are standing up for one another when it gets chippy like that.”

The Maple Leafs held the puck at center ice when Lightning forwards Corey Perry and Pat Maroon got tangled up with Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds near the end of regulation.

Referees separated the trio, but Perry went on to scuffle with other Maple Leafs players behind the Toronto goal. The melee continued through the TV commercial break.

So nice to see everyone getting along so nicely already. #LeafsForever | #GoBoltspic.twitter.com/7ZTjM9VwDX— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 3, 2022

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Simmonds, who is listed at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, escalated the situation when he skated into the crowd of angry players and used his right hand to grab 6-foot-6, 241-pound Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman near the neck.

Hedman and Simmonds exchanged additional shoves and punches as other players broke into separate standoffs. Referees eventually calmed the situation and assessed the guilty parties with multiple penalties.

Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta, Maple Leafs defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin, Maroon, Perry and Simmonds were initially given 10-minute misconduct penalties. Perry was given two minors for roughing and penalized for misconduct and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Rutta and Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Reilly each received majors for fighting.

That’s just playoff hockey,” Lightning center Steven Stamkos told reporters.

Mitch Marner scored and totaled two assists in the win. Jake Muzzin and David Kampf also scored for the Maple Leafs. Reilly logged two assists in the win.

Rutta totaled 17 penalty minutes. Perry and Lybushkin totaled 16 and 14 minutes in the penalty box.

Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell logged 24 saves. Lightning net minder Andrei Vasilevskiy saved 28 Maple Leafs shots.

The Maple Leafs host the Lightning in Game 2 of the best-of-seven game series at 7:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena.

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