Keefe irate with the officials all night, livid after the missed high stick on Aston-Reese, who required several stitches

Published December 28, 2022 at 10:38
BY EVAN DOERFLER
The Leafs managed to scrape out a 5-4 overtime win in St. Louis on Tuesday night, earning the two points despite a high-scoring affair with the Blues. With all things considered, Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was still pleased with the chaotic win, as the game was the team's first since the holiday break.


The Leafs never found themselves trailing in the contest, jumping off to an early 3-1 lead early in the second period. As the game progressed, the Blues would claw their way back into the game, eventually tying it 3-3. For the most part, the Leafs looked strong, outshooting the Blues 37-34 in the campaign. Ilya Samsonov, however, looked shaky in his second straight start and posted a sub- .900 SV% for his third straight game.

In spite of their winning efforts, the storyline remained focused on the poor officiating within tonight's contest. Throughout the game, numerous missed calls against the Blues cost the Leafs a number of power play opportunities. Their first power play didn't come until midway through the second frame. In comparison, the Blues were awarded 3 power plays prior, even capitalizing on one from the stick of Justin Faulk, who tied the game at three in the second period.


Adding to the list of non-calls, there was a crucial missed high-sticking call on Leafs forward Zach Aston-Reese with just a couple of minutes remaining in the game with the score tied knotted at four a piece. The result would have been a double-minor, as Aston-Reese was bleeding, and could have won the Leafs the game in regulation or pushed them over the edge with the man advantage in overtime.

The outcome stemmed into Aston-Reese getting "sewn up" post-game, which resulted from a blatant missed call, infuriating Keefe and all of Leafs nation, especially if they had lost tonight's game. It was the lackluster officiating that laid down the groundwork for an up-and-down performance.


Nonetheless, the first game back was disorderly, but the consensus post-game from both players and coaches was that the team was content with the result of two points.
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