NHL suspends Leafs forward Clifford 1-game for boarding

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

TORONTO (AP) Toronto 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 on 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.

Toronto head 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 Game 1 5-0 over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Clifford will miss Game 2 on 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.


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Updated May 4, 2022