NHL

Leafs' Kyle Clifford to miss Game 2 against Lightning for boarding Ross Colton

Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford was suspended one game Tuesday after receiving a major penalty for boarding the Lightning's Ross Colton and a game misconduct seven minutes into Game 1 on Monday night.

Toronto's Simmonds, Lightning's Perry, Maroon fined for unsportsmanlike conduct

Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford was suspended one game Tuesday following his boarding major against the Lightning's Ross Colton in Monday night's Stanley Cup playoff game in Toronto. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford was suspended one game Tuesday after receiving a major penalty in Toronto's playoff-opening win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

Clifford, who will miss Game 2 on Wednesday, was assessed a major for boarding and a game misconduct just seven minutes into Game 1 for a hit on Tampa Bay's Ross Colton, who was sent face-first into the glass, but escaped serious injury on the play.

The NHL's department of player safety, which issued the suspension following a hearing with Clifford on Tuesday, described the incident in an explanation video as a "forceful hit to a defenceless player who is no longer in possession of the puck."

The Maple Leafs killed off the ensuing five-minute power play and opened the best-of-seven series with a 5-0 win over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

WATCH | Clifford ejected from Game 1 after boarding penalty:

Leafs' Clifford ejected from Game 1 for hit on Lightning's Colton

5 months ago
Duration 1:24
Toronto forward Kyle Clifford receives a major boarding penalty and a game misconduct for a hit on Tampa Bay forward Ross Colton.

Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said Tuesday before the suspension was announced that Clifford's penalty put the Leafs in a tough spot.

"[Clifford's] got to toe the line. And that's not an easy ask for the player like him. When you're him, you want to get on top of the opposition quickly, you want to finish your checks, you want to make your mark physically," Keefe said. "He just finished a good check [on Lightning defenceman Jan Rutta] and the building's kind of erupting. And then all of a sudden, there's a second check there. It's a split-second decision, and it wasn't a good one for him. But he knows that.

"He's been around the game a long time and has played that way a long time. He paid for it in that moment. We paid for it as a team."

The NHL's department of player safety also announced Tuesday that Toronto forward Wayne Simmonds and Tampa Bay forwards Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon have each been fined $2,250 US, the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement, for unsportsmanlike conduct during Game 1.

The three players were instigators in a line brawl that erupted in the late stages of the third period.

Maroon was assessed a 10-minute misconduct; Perry received a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, a pair of minor penalties for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct; and Simmonds was handed a 10-minute misconduct.

Also Tuesday, Minnesota Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon was fined $5,000 for cross-checking St. Louis forward Pavel Buchnevich with 1:46 remaining in the Blues' 4-0 win in St. Paul on Monday .

WATCH | Matthews scores twice in shutout win over Lightning:

Matthews' 2nd goal of Game 1 seals Leafs' shutout victory over Lightning

5 months ago
Duration 1:03
Toronto blanks Tampa Bay 5-0 in Game 1 of their first round series, Auston Matthews records 2 goals and an assist.

With files from Field Level Media

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