Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford has been given a one-game suspension for a boarding incident in Toronto’s playoff-opening win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The NHL’s department of player safety issued the suspension Tuesday following a hearing with Clifford. It described Monday’s incident as a forceful hit to a defenseless player who is no longer in possession of the puck.
Clifford was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct 6:59 into Game 1 of the first-round series for a hit on Ross Colton.
The Tampa forward went face-first into the glass, but he escaped serious injury.
Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford gets a one-game suspension.— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) May 3, 2022
Fair, harsh, or not enough? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/lCNdgRZyNK
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said Tuesday before the suspension was announced that Clifford’s penalty put the Leafs in a tough spot.
“He’s been around the game a long time and has played that way a long time,” the coach said. “He paid for it in that moment. We paid for it as a team.”
The Leafs won, 5-0, over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Clifford will miss Game 2 Wednesday.
The NHL also announced Toronto forward Wayne Simmonds and Tampa Bay forwards Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon were fined $2,250 apiece for unsportsmanlike conduct during the game.
The three players were instigators of a third-period fight.
Kings pounce on Oilers’ miscue
Phillip Danault capitalized after a miscue by Edmonton goalie Mike Smith and scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period, leading the Kings to a 4-3 win at Edmonton, Alberta Monday night in Game 1 of the opening-round playoff series.
Smith tried to clear the puck from behind his net and instead put it on the stick of a Kings player in front. Smith made a diving save, but couldn’t corral the puck. Seconds later, Danault scored at 14:46 of the third after a shot by Sean Durzi from the point.
Smith stopped 31 of 35 shots he faced for Edmonton.
“I was just trying to make something happen,” Smith said. “Obviously trying to do too much there. In a tight game like that, you can’t afford to make mistakes like that. It ended up costing us the game. Obviously disappointed, but it’s one game and we move on.”
Trevor Moore and Alex Iafallo each had a goal and assist for the Kings. Brandon Lemieux also scored.
Connor McDavid and Kailier Yamamoto each had a goal and assist for Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl rounded out the scoring with a power-play goal.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made 35 saves.
Game 2 is Wednesday in Edmonton. The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 Friday.
Perron paces Blues
David Perron was quarantined in his basement last year, listening to his kids run around upstairs and watching the Blues get swept out of the first round.
The 15-year veteran right wing sure showed his appreciation for being back in the playoffs.
Perron had a hat trick and an assist to lead the Blues past the Wild, 4-0, at St. Paul Monday night in Game 1 of their first-round series, one year after COVID-19 kept him out of the postseason.
“It’s been a long way coming,” said Perron, who’s on his third stint with St. Louis and posted the 14th three-goal game in franchise history. “I have a lot of pride wearing the Blue note.”
Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist, Torey Krug added three assists and Ville Husso made 37 saves for the shutout in his postseason debut for the Blues, who seized home-ice advantage from a Wild team they’ve had their way with in recent years.
By blocking 17 shots, clogging the passing lanes and dominating on both special teams, the confident Blues quieted Xcel Energy Center quickly with a 2-0 first-period lead and never let the crowd — that the Wild pushed so hard to play in front of to start the postseason — become a factor.