Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe
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Sheldon Keefe had some unkind words for his team following loss to Islanders

Published February 6, 2024 at 10:00

The Toronto Maple Leafs returned from their bye week and All-Star break last night and hosted Patrick Roy and the New York Islanders. While the Leafs had lengthy stretches of controlling the play, once again, their lack of attention to detail and defensive miscues led to a 3-2 loss. Following the game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was asked about his team's performance.

"We played well enough to win the game, but we did just enough to lose. That is why you lose games.... The second and third goals are gifts," said Keefe of the Leafs' defensive breakdowns.

While Keefe appeared calm answering questions about the team's performance, he had a bit of a fiery response when asked about the Islanders' second goal, which saw Kyle MacLean come out of the box and get behind the Leafs defense to score his first NHL goal on a breakaway.

"It has nothing to do with the point in the year. This is the National Hockey League. That is peewee stuff. It has nothing to do with the season or anything like that. If you play on the power play in the NHL, they should not get behind you coming out of the penalty box."

The culprit here was Timothy Liljegren, who was out of position on the play that led to the Isles' go-ahead goal in the second frame. As the Leafs attempted to position themselves for the cycle in the Isles' zone, Cal Clutterbuck managed to get his stick on the puck, batting it out past Liljegren at center ice, just in time for MacLean to pick it up in behind Liljegren.

The Leafs' powerplay continues to struggle with its cohesiveness and although Keefe has called them out more than once in recent weeks, he has yet to take matters into his own hands and make changes. At this point in the season, there is no reason for the continuous turnovers and miscues with the man advantage and things need to be cleaned up significantly. Given his comments last night however, it should come as no surprise if we see changes at practice in the coming days to both units.

February 6   |   744 answers
Sheldon Keefe had some unkind words for his team following loss to Islanders

Will Keefe change the powerplay units ahead of the next game?

Nope, he's too stubborn to do that55174.1 %
Yes, he is going to send a message19325.9 %
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