Sheldon Keefe’s optimism is starting to pay off in a big way

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ latest performance, Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks, seems to have appeased many in the Queen City, including head coach Sheldon Keefe.

Although he claimed to have seen a lot of positives in the play of his players last week, many fans instead heard despair in the voice of the 43-year-old, writes the daily “Toronto Sun”.

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We have to admit that his team’s convincing 5-2 victory against one of the best teams in the National Hockey League (NHL) in the 2023-2024 season. shows that he is right.

“It was the perfect way to end this streak at home,” he said after Saturday’s game. Through it all, I kept saying that we are going in the right direction. Maybe it didn’t always look good, but within the team we saw a lot of positives.”

The Leafs are now in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 18 points in 15 games, the same record as the Detroit Red Wings, who still mustered seven regular-time wins compared to just four for Toronto.

Help in attack

If in recent years the Leafs’ slow start to the season has often been blamed on the team’s four highest-paid forwards – Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander – that has absolutely not been the case this season.

With each of the stars putting up a rate of more than a point per game, it’s more the utility players who struggle early in the campaign. Newcomers Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, John Klingberg and Ryan Reeves were particularly notable for their lack of contributions.

However, a few have raised their game to a higher level since the last two games.

“The offensive contributions of the utility players are important and they helped us increase the lead today,” Keefe said in a press conference on Saturday. Some nights our best players will not excel. The good thing is that since Domi is in the center of the third line, things are getting better. The whole time the problem was keeping the puck out of our net.”

The game against Vancouver ended a streak of eight home games to start the season in which the team scored four or more goals, a very sad record in the history of the organization, according to the Toronto Sun.

The Maple Leafs will now head to Sweden to face the Red Wings on Friday and the Minnesota Wild on Sunday as part of an NHL tour aimed at playing games away from home.North America.

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