"A tough look": Keefe discusses Maroon hit on Leafs defenceman (VIDEO)
Things between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning got a little out of control at the end of the second period in Game 5 on Thursday night.
As the final seconds of the frame ticked down, Lightning forward Pat Maroon hit Leafs defenceman Mark Giordano from behind. Giordano went head-first into the boards, falling to the ice.
The veteran blueliner’s teammates were livid, along with the Toronto crowd, and scuffles ensued in the aftermath. Both Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly went after Maroon, who was arguing with officials as Giordano tried to regain his composure.
The Leafs started the third period with a chance to tie the game on the power play after Maroon was sent off to the penalty box for roughing but were unable to capitalize.
Giordano was not on the Leafs’ bench to start the third period but did end up returning to the game.
“In terms of the hit itself, any time there are hits in the numbers, you are concerned with it. We have had a few of those from that player in particular in this series,” Keefe explained. “When you see a player smash his head off the glass, it is a tough look.”
Despite the dangerous and tough loss at home, Keefe says the Leafs remain optimistic heading down to Florida for the weekend.
“As a coach, before you walk into the meeting, you are always getting a pretty good sense of where the group is at based on the volume, the chatter, and the energy of the room when you walk in,” he said. “Today, it was vibrant. That is a really good sign in terms of our mindset here.”
The Maple Leafs will try to break through to the second round of the playoffs when the series moves back to Tampa for Game 6 on Saturday at 7 pm ET.