Saturday’s 5-4 win against the Detroit Red Wings was a positive result for the Toronto Maple Leafs but had enough flaws that will need to be corrected.
“Maybe part of it is that we just haven’t had the lead late in games enough this season, but we’ve got more than enough experience on our team that we should be better than that,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe.
Toronto had three two-goal leads (3-1, 4-2, and 5-3) and Detroit responded with the next goal each time.
Keefe did see some positives, though. “Lots of good teaching points for us to come out of it, so you get the win, and the opportunity is a chance to be better the next time out and get used to playing with leads and get comfortable with it, which is really a staple of any good hockey team.”
Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares had three points to lead the attack. “The win should feel a little better than it does,” said Tavares. “The two points are important, and we got them. We obviously want to fix the recipe a little bit, in terms of the way we finished off in the third period.”
The theme of this win is that the Maple Leafs are not in a position to turn down victories based on style points. But they made enough mistakes to put this game in doubt, even though they controlled play effectively.
Defenceman Jake Muzzin weighed in. “We’ll take the win. We did a lot of good things, but we definitely need to tighten some things up. Play better with the lead, that’s for sure.”
Like Keefe said, maybe this team is a little out of practice playing with a lead because it has been a while since they have had to do it.
To the takeaways…