Sheldon Keefe not happy with his team's performance on Wednesday
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Sheldon Keefe tears a strip off of his team following sleepy win over Winnipeg

Published January 25, 2024 at 3:40 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs narrowly escaped with an overtime victory last night against the Winnipeg Jets. If it wasn't for Ilya Samsonov's spectacular play during regulation time, the Leafs would have been blown out. Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe called Samsonov's play "perfect" following the win. However, he could not say the same about the rest of the team.

Following the game, Keefe laid into his players, particularly those on the first powerplay unit that was benched after giving up a 2-on-0 early in the second period.

"To me it looked like a team still on the plane," said Keefe. "We didn't have it. We addressed it. We move on. They (top powerplay unit) make a mistake in that spot. It is a chance for me to hold them accountable and get some other guys involved. Once I saw how we were playing in the game, I wanted nothing to do with a power play. I had a feeling it was going to look like that, unfortunately."

The Leafs were outshot 16-4 after the first period and could have been down significantly had it not been for Samsonov. With an off-day today, the Leafs will have the opportunity to dissect their horrendous powerplay and their overall play in general before returning to practice tomorrow.

There's no question that the Leafs have taken a considerable step backwards this season from where they were around this time last year. Yes, the core is still the same, and yes, the supporting pieces may have improved a bit over the summer on paper, but for whatever reason, the team cannot put it all together and look disjointed and disconnected at times.

It's not too late for this group to turn things around and make a big push in the second half, but it would require everyone working together and putting forth a concerted effort night in and night out, playing for the guys next to him on the bench and the guys across from him in the locker room.

The Leafs will head to Winnipeg to play their final game on Saturday before their bye week and the upcoming All-Star weekend in early February.

January 25   |   637 answers
Sheldon Keefe tears a strip off of his team following sleepy win over Winnipeg

Did Keefe make the right call benching the top powerplay unit against Winnipeg on Wednesday?

Yes, they have sucked lately52081.6 %
No, it could have cost them the game11718.4 %
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