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A bloody brawl between the Maple Leafs and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning underscored Toronto’s 5-0 beat down of Tampa Bay in Game 1 of their playoff matchup Monday night.
Maple Leafs star Morgan Rielly delivered a shot on Lightning’s Jan Rutta in a fight in the third period and left the defenseman bloodied. It was just one of the intense moments in the shutout win.
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Auston Matthews had two goals while Mitch Marner, Jake Muzzin and David Kampf had a goal each in the win. Toronto goalie Jack Campbell made 23 saves in the second playoff shutout of his career. Marner snapped a streak of 18 games he’d gone without scoring in the playoffs.
“Can’t do anything about the past. I’m here to focus on the now. I’m here to focus on what I can do to help team our team win,” Marner said. “Just like everyone else in that locker room.”
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Toronto “played fast,” according to Matthews, and was able to kill off a 5-minute major penalty given to winger Kyle Clifford after he hit Tampa’s Ross Colton from behind two minutes into the game. Clifford also received a game misconduct.
“I heard somebody say on the bench try to use this as momentum,” said Matthews, who scored 60 goals in the regular season. “That’s exactly what the guys did.”
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said he didn’t think the Maple Leafs had to play all that well to get past them.
“I’m not so sure the Maple Leafs had to play particularly well to beat us tonight. You’ve got to win four, and you don’t want to give teams any freebies, and we probably gave them a little bit of a freebie,” Cooper said. “It’s hard to judge either team tonight.”
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Game 2 of their matchup is Wednesday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.