Sheldon Keefe goes for the throat, eviscerates the Leafs after tough loss

Ryan Smitheram
December 28, 2023  (12:36)

Sheldon Keefe rips his team a new one following loss to Ottawa
Photo credit: USA Today Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs entered the Christmas break by defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets last Saturday 4-1. It was a very complete effort from the team and something the Leafs were hoping to build off of going into Wednesday's game against the Ottawa Senators, coming out of the break.

While things started out well for the Leafs, up 2-0 at the end of the first, the wheels fell off in the second. The Leafs looked like they had fallen asleep and let the Senators claw their way back into the game, eventually tying it at 2 on a short-handed goal from Drake Batherson.
Not only did the Leafs give up one short-handed goal, but they gave up three odd-man rushes while on the powerplay, which went 0 for 3 by the way. There is the old saying, "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" and while the Leafs talent was outworked, the Senators talent outworked the Leafs checkers.
Following the game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe called out his team for their lack of effort and compete in the second and third periods and credited the Senators for theirs, specifically when down a man.
"They were better than us in the second period for sure. It looks a lot worse because our power play gave them a freebie, some life, and energy. Some of our details just slipped on each of the goals against. I thought Ottawa got better and harder as the game went on. We didn't respond to that. What I didn't love about it is that I thought we were really outworked on our power play. That part is not acceptable. A lot of the other issues on the power play were simply due to Ottawa outworking us in those spots. It was the same at 6-on-5."

With the loss, the Leafs fall to 2-5-2 against the bottom seven teams in the league which is something that has plagued them for a decade at least. The Leafs will hope to fix their miscues and work ethic ahead of Friday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but it would not be surprising in the least to see them struggle to beat them for the second time in a week.
28 DECEMBRE   |   1064 ANSWERS
Sheldon Keefe goes for the throat, eviscerates the Leafs after tough loss

Will the Leafs ever figure out how to beat bottom-feeders consistently?

Yes, eventually20819.5 %
Not under Sheldon Keefe85680.5 %
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