Sheldon Keefe sounds off on Stamkos, the Lightning and an NHL referee!

Sheldon Keefe sounds off on Stamkos, the Lightning and an NHL referee!

Sheldon Keefe was not happy about how his star forward was treated on Saturday night, and he let everyone know about it.

Jonathan Larivee

Saturday night's Game 3 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs was the site of something that has never before been seen in the history of the National Hockey League, a fight between a pair of 60 goal scorers.

It wasn't very much of a fight at all though and in fact you could probably argue that it was more of an assault on the part of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who used a chaotic situation during the game to take a few shots at Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews.

The two men clashed after a scary-looking hit from Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly sent Lightning forward Brayden Point crashing head and shoulders first into the boards, with Stamkos delivering several unanswered punches to the face of Matthews while being restrained by the officials.

Following the conclusion of the game, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was asked about the incident and he used the opportunity to sound off on Stamkos, the Lightning, and even NHL referee Jake Brenk.

"The fight itself, that's a classic example of a veteran championship team like Tampa Bay manipulating the officials and taking advantage of a situation, right?" said Keefe following Game 3. "I mean they know that we're basically already going on the power play because of the Kucherov situation so it's a free-for-all. They can do whatever they want and they just know that the way the games get called they're not going to get another penalty. I mean you watch that sequence back and say that we shouldn't get a 5-on-3. The officials literally holding Steven Stamkos with one arm and his other hand with no glove on is punching Auston Matthews. Not the linesman, the referee who calls the penalty was holding Stamkos while this was happening. Credit to Tampa for recognizing that situation, it's a free pass to do what you want. Not only do they get out of it unscathed, but they take Matthews and O'Reilly with them to the box. Brilliant play by the Lightning there."