The tale of the tape was different.
That’s how Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe mended his original views on the Leafs’ 6-5 shootout victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
Keefe didn’t have much good to say about the season-opening win late on Wednesday night. After watching video of the game before the club reconvened for practice on Friday, Keefe changed his tune.
“We had a lot of really good sequences, carrying play and doing a lot of good things and then you have one or two things that are glaring errors that can (help) lose momentum, lose control, and things kind of slipped from there,” Keefe said. “There’s some things for us to clean up, but there was way more good in the game than frankly I was expecting to come out of it, really for each line.”
The Leafs required a pair of Auston Matthews goals in the final five minutes, both with goalie Ilya Samsonov on the bench in favour of an extra skater, to send the game to overtime.
Still, while Keefe was more pleased upon review, the fact remained that Montreal outscored Toronto 4-1 at 5-on-5.
The Leafs will have to be a lot tighter against a structured Minnesota Wild team on Saturday.
“Historically, these are the kinds of games that we’ve responded in kind, in terms of our own structure and details,” Keefe said. “We have a lot of new guys still finding their way through the game reps of our system and structure, but I certainly expect it to be a more controlled game on both sides.”
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