Sheldon Keefe praises his players

Published March 8, 2023 at 1:18 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from behind to secure a victory against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night. Despite a slow start, the Leafs were able to turn things around in the second period and battled it out in the third. Quick goals from Michael Bunting and Auston Matthews helped them clinch a 4-3 win, ending their road trip on a positive note.

Sheldon Keefe Had Some Great Words for His Players

After the game, head coach Sheldon Keefe praised his team for their clutch performance. He acknowledged the tough start to the game but was pleased with how his team responded in the second period, taking over the game.

"The first period didn't go great for us," Keefe said. "I don't think it was as bad as the shot clock maybe said, but I liked how we came out and really took over the game in the second period. It was kind of back and forth through the third. The fact that our guys stuck with it with some key plays — some clutch plays at key times — was really great. A great way to finish the trip."

Keefe also recognized the impact of newcomer Sam Lafferty, who was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks last week. Lafferty's speed and skill have been a welcome addition to the Leafs' lineup, particularly in the absence of Ryan O'Reilly due to injury.

«I thought Lafferty really came alive in the second period, really started to skate through the neutral zone with the puck,» Keefe said. «I thought that really got them on their heels a few times. Obviously, a big play on the goal and a good play by (Nylander and Jarnkrok) to get to the net. That's obviously an important goal for us. But like I said, I really saw signs of what Lafferty is capable of in terms of putting the other team on their heels with his speed. He's done that at different times in the earlier games with us, but it was more off the puck in getting up the ice and applying pressure. Today, it was with the puck and carrying it through the neutral zone, which is probably a byproduct of playing at center.»

Hopes are high in Toronto, and for good reason.

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March 8   |   452 answers
Sheldon Keefe praises his players

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