Update — Clifford has received a one-game suspension for boarding on Colton in Game 1. The Maple Leafs forward won’t play in Game 2 on Wednesday night in Toronto. Here’s the explanation from the NHL’s department of player safety.
Toronto’s Kyle Clifford has been suspended for one game for Boarding Tampa Bay’s Ross Colton. https://t.co/2X1llmJ5tl— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 3, 2022
Toronto Maple Leafs F Kyle Clifford will have a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety after boarding Tampa Bay Lightning F Ross Colton on Monday. The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series with a 5-0 victory on Monday night in Game 1.
Clifford committed the penalty in the first period and received a 10-minute misconduct after the hit, only skating for 49 seconds in the win. There’s a chance Clifford is suspended for at least a game or two in the series. It wouldn’t be a major impact considering Clifford is a fourth-liner.
As a result of the Clifford boarding and potential suspension, the Leafs could insert veteran Jason Spezza into the lineup on the fourth line with Colin Blackwell and Wayne Simmonds. Spezza did not play in the first game of the series but has plenty of playoff experience. He had 5 points in 7 games for the Leafs last postseason and has 92 career Stanley Cup Playoff games under his belt with the Maple Leafs, Stars and Senators.