Leafs head coach shares surprising opinion on the team's loss to New York

Mike Armenti
December 20, 2023  (10:35)

Photo credit: NHL

Coming into Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the hottest team in hockey over the previous 15-game stretch, posting an incredible 10-1-4 record, and amassing 24 of a possible 30 points on the course of that run. However, a very game New York Rangers team, who are leading the Eastern Conference, had every intention of coming into Toronto and stealing one from the Leafs on home ice. That's exactly what they did, but it wasn't as lopsided a game as the score indicated.

The Rangers experienced some tremendous puck luck in this one, with 3 of their 5 goals being scored off of a deflection, 1 goal being scored of a fanned shot and 1 empty-netter. The real shame is that Martin Jones actually played well yet again, even though the stats don't reflect that. Here is just a taste of what Jones had dealt with and just how lucky the Rangers were:
Following the game, many had expected Sheldon Keefe to blow up or at least criticize his team for giving up too much. However, that's not what had occurred. Keefe thought the Leafs played well, surprisingly, even in a 5-2 loss.
"When three goals are going off us and in the net, bouncing around and you don't get any power plays, you're probably not winning the game. These things happened over the course of 82 [games]. But I had no issues with our game.

When one happens, you're thinking, "Alright." When the second happens The game works in weird ways. That is why you play 82 of these things. I thought we did a good job in the game. It is [a game] where the two teams respect each other. Both teams played a little cautious.

I thought we really started to come alive in the second period. I thought we had more than enough chances to score more than we did. Auston is the only one who could beat world-class goaltending tonight, but we had more than enough opportunity to score more than two.

The score looks a little strange, but it could've been the same score the other way pretty easily."

It was very clear to the no-nonsense coach that puck luck was a huge factor in last night's outcome, and anyone watching the game would have likely come to the same conclusion.
The Leafs don't have to wait long to get back into the win column as they'll travel to Buffalo today for a game against the Sabres in enemy territory tomorrow night. No word yet on whether Jones will draw the start or if the team will turn back to Ilya Samsonov in an attempt to help him build some confidence against a struggling Sabres team.
Leafs head coach shares surprising opinion on the team's loss to New York

Who should the Leafs start against the Sabres tomorrow night?

Martin Jones62880.6 %
Ilya Samsonov15119.4 %
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