John Tavares accuses the NHL referees of rigging the game against the Maple Leafs

Published April 19, 2023 at 9:35

The Toronto Maple Leafs began their first round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night and absolutely laid an egg in front of their home fans at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto gave up the first goal less than two minutes into the game, another goal six minutes later, and one more to wrap up the first period with less than three seconds left on the clock. The home crowd booed the team off the ice after the first and rightfully so.

Toronto showed some urgency in the second scoring back to back power play goals to make it a one goal game. Leafs blueliner Jake McCabe landed the biggest hit of the night on Tampa's Mikey Eyssimont. Eyssimont was attempting to gain the the offensive zone. McCabe read the play and stood him up at the line. Eyssimont made it to the bench but was pulled by concussion spotters shortly after. No penalty was called on the play. Lighting forward Nick Paul was trying to fight McCabe after the hit with some stick work happening between the pair. As the play went on it was a Leaf going to the box, David Kampf for slashing.

Tampa pulled away on the powerplay scoring three times to close out the period thanks to Kampf's penalty and Michael Bunting getting a match penalty and ejected from the game for an illegal check to the head on Lightning's Erik Cernak.

After the game Leafs captain John Tavares takes a dig at the refs:

«Those calls that are borderline, more likely than not they're gonna go their way,» Tavares said.

"We have to be a lot better, learn from it."

Seems like a bit of a cop out after from the captain. Sure some of the calls were borderline but seems like an easy route to avoid the real issues. Head Coach Sheldon Keefe has to take some of the blame on his shoulders for this one. How do you not have your team ready to start in a home game against a team you knew you were going to play for over a month? How can you go away from having Calle Jarnkrok on the top line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner after playing so well together to close out the season?

The team gave up goals to close out the first and second period with less than five seconds left. Toronto needs to show up on Thursday night and play with a lot more pride then they showed in this one or Leafs fans will need to start bracing themselves for another first round exit for the 19th year in a row.
April 19   |   266 answers
John Tavares accuses the NHL referees of rigging the game against the Maple Leafs

Who wins this series?

Toronto Maple Leafs9335 %
Tampa Bay Lightning17365 %
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