After a brutal loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said this game should be a wake-up call which we’ve heard before.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters before the game that he wanted his players to be focused on playing their best game. Well, that didn’t happen as Toronto once again showed that their defensive issues need to be addressed.
“It’s a continuation of how we defended Saturday against St. Louis and that’s the most disappointing part,” Keefe said after the game. “We didn’t do a good enough job coming out of the zone, we lost races, weren’t connected and when our D got involved, our forwards let guys loose.”
Really the common problem was how many of the goals the Leafs allowed came off the rush. That’s not something the defencemen should be blamed solely as the Canadiens had no issue gaining the zone and drive to the net.
It also doesn’t help that Petr Mrazek had arguably his worst performance since joining the Leafs. If he finds a way to stop a couple of those early goals, you wonder if the team in front of him find a way to break through earlier.
So at what point do the Leafs start to learn from their lessons? Keefe said this game should serve as a wake-up call but fans can count on their hands how many games like Monday night they have seen. With the trade deadline not far away, this will certainly be a testy time as the Leafs try to navigate their biggest needs.
How the Toronto Maple Leafs gameplan changes with Jake Muzzin’s injury
Seeing Jake Muzzin lying on the ice after accidentally colliding with Chris Wideman at the end of the second period was certainly a scary scene. Muzzin is far removed from a diagnosed concussion that sidelined him for weeks.
The Leafs blue line had their struggles without Muzzin in the lineup and now they have to figure out what to do with their blue line going forward. This might force Ilya Lyubushkin to make his Leafs debut sooner than they may have wanted.
“We want to put him in a position to succeed,” Keefe said when asked about when the Russian defenceman would get into the lineup.
This all depends on Muzzin’s status going forward but this is not an ideal situation for a blue line that has looked fragile the last few weeks. They might have to get Rasmus Sandin back up to the NHL in case Muzzin or Lyubushkin aren’t able to play either.
What are your thoughts on the loss to the Canadiens? Do you think they have had enough wake-up calls? Let us know in the comments below.