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Sheldon Keefe sends Nylander a clear message ahead of elimination game


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Mike Armenti
April 30, 2024  (4:33 PM)
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William Nylander
Photo credit: James Carey Lauder, USA Today Sports

When asked about William Nylander's performance in Game 4, Sheldon Keefe cut right to the chase, revealing how Nylander will have to approach a do-or-die Game 5.

William Nylander was ineffective for the Maple Leafs in Game 4 against the Bruins on Saturday, coming up empty-handed on the scoresheet after firing 3 pucks on net against the Boston Bruins, who now hold a commanding 3-1 series lead.
A big part of the reason for Nylander's lacklustre Game 4 was that he had missed the first 3 games of the series. Tough to be in that mid-series form when you've been sitting in the press box, or at home on the couch.
At any rate, if Nylander hadn't been engaged in a heated bench squabble with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on Saturday night, we wouldn't have even known he was playing. He was borderline invisible out there. On Tuesday, though, Sheldon Keefe touched on why Nylander wasn't as effective as we're used to seeing, revealing what needs to change for Nylander to have some success in Game 5. It seemed like a pretty clear message. The status quo isn't good enough.
"Some of the things that he was looking to do [in Game 4] aren't available. This team defends very well & he needs to adapt to the series... He'll make adjustments going into the next game that will help him out"

As far as Nylander's energy levels following his reported migraine issues, the Stockholm, Sweden native told the media on Tuesday that he felt good last game. He also revealed one area that the Leafs will need to be better in tonight.
[The] power play is one aspect where we can all do better."

The Leafs are 1-for-14 with the man advantage through 4 games in these playoffs. Obviously, that's just not good enough. The Bruins have a decent penalty kill, but it's not so good that they should be completely stonewalling the Maple Leafs.
Execution has been a huge issue for the Leafs with a man up on the Bruins. They're not completing clean tape-to-tape passes, they're trying to get too cute with the puck and they're not focused nearly enough on the fundamentals. They'll need to get some traffic in front of Jeremy Swayman and take away his eyes before directing pucks on net if they want to have any chance of beating the young netminder.
Obviously, there's a lot on the line tonight, so with or without Matthews, William Nylander and the Maple Leafs had better be ready to play a full 60 minutes to avoid another early summer.
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30 AVRIL   |   629 ANSWERS
Sheldon Keefe sends Nylander a clear message ahead of elimination game

If the Leafs lose tonight, will Sheldon Keefe be fired by the end of the week?

Yes, he's done49578.7 %
No, he'll be back next year589.2 %
Depends how the game actually goes7612.1 %
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