Maple Leafs & Lightning Series Expected to Be "Borderline Violent"

The Stanley Cup Playoffs kick off on Monday night as the NHL's second season begins. With a slew of interesting matchups throughout both conferences, this postseason should be entertaining as hell. While you'd think a matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning would be all about speed and skill, turns out both sides hate each other and it's expected to be borderline violent on the ice at times.

We saw throughout their matchups in the regular season, both teams don't like each other and have a slew of tough guys who love to mix it up. Lightning forward Pat Maroon and Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds especially, as the two veterans have mixed it up multiple times throughout the regular season and could both play a huge role in the physicality of this first-round series.

It sounds like instead of some speed and skill to round out their lineup, the Maple Leafs are going big and bulky. Look for head coach Sheldon Keefe to play Simmonds, along with tough guy Kyle Clifford on the team's fourth line. Keefe met with the media on Sunday to discuss the series and commented on a few things including what he expects to see transpire on the ice:

I expect it to be a very physical, borderline violent series in a lot of ways. And our guys will be ready for that. We've done it. We've done it through the season. We expect it. We got a taste of it when we were down in Tampa. I've watched them play through their playoff runs, and I’ve rewatched it since. And they're going to be very physical. They're going to be very competitive

Expect to see the Maple Leafs go with the following lineup for Game 1 against the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning: 


Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports