Leafs, Canucks combine for four instigators, 157 PIMs in third period

Ron MacLean and Don Cherry discuss what went down between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks that lead to 171 penalty minutes being handed out.

It may not be a natural rivalry, with the two teams playing on nearly opposite ends of the country, but the Maple Leafs and Canucks sure went at it in a heated third period Saturday night.

With the Leafs up 5-2, it all began with a series of events that started with a big hit by Morgan Rielly on Jannik Hansen as the Canucks moved up ice with the puck, and was made worse by a questionable hit by Nazem Kadri on Daniel Sedin. Kadri received a five-minute major for the check — which will likely be reviewed by the league — and then fought Jannik Hansen, who earned the first instigator of the period and also a game misconduct.

We weren’t done there. Far from it.

Less than five minutes later, Derek Dorsett fought Leo Komarov after declining the invitation from NHL hit king Matt Martin. Naturally, Martin and the Leafs weren’t happy about this and got into a shouting match with Dorsett as he was escorted off the ice and out of the game. Dorsett earned the second instigator of the period.

Hold him back, linesman.

Among all this craziness was a cheap shot behind the play by Alexandre Burrows on Rielly, likely as retribution for the check on Hansen minutes earlier. Burrows appeared to spear Rielly in the mid-section, forcing Rielly to the bench in pain, although he would return.

This part culminated in Burrows going after Rielly, just seven seconds after the Dorsett-Komarov fight. The two were given fighting majors and Burrows was issued the third instigator of the period, although it was more of a wrestling match than a fight.

All this was building to the line brawl which broke out a little more than three minutes after the Rielly-Burrows incident. Matt Martin — who, perhaps if Dorsett fought at the outset would have avoided all this madness — jumped Canucks rookie Troy Stecher for the fourth instigator between the two teams in the third period.

Ryan Miller, of all skaters, responded by coming after Martin, which then led to a full-on line brawl, including Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen, who skated down from the opposite end of the ice to literally jump into the mix.

Andersen, Miller, and Martin all received game misconducts here, while Connor Carrick and Brendan Gaunce received 10-minute misconducts.

All told, the teams combined for a massive 157 penalty minutes (all misconducts included) and four instigators in the third period.

This came after Don Cherry said it was an “embarrassment” that the Oilers didn’t stand up for Connor McDavid when Nazem Kadri was all over him physically in the Toronto-Edmonton game earlier this week.

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