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By Kristen Shilton

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TORONTO – With all the talk of rivalries emerging among the North Division’s opponents this season, the Maple Leafs’ greatest enemy was on their own early on, through a landslide of careless punishments that nearly ruined recent victories. p>

“Obviously we have been tempted by fate and made it a lot harder than it had to be and that was a trend for us in these close games,” head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters Zoom call on Friday after the Zoom call Leafs training in Edmonton “We take penalties and give really good, dangerous power play opportunities. Our penalty shootouts and goalkeeping … have increased than it was really necessary to get our two points, but clearly we have to stay out of the box”

Toronto led the Oilers 2-0 in the second phase of the game on Thursday, when a penalty against Alex Kerfoot (slash) and Zach Hyman (stumble) gave Edmonton a 5v3 powerplay, Leon did Draisaitl profited late in the frame It was Draisaitl who at the beginning of the third half again had a chance to gain a man’s advantage and scored the decisive goal and brought the Leafs back to first place with 14 minutes of play

“We don’t like being called,” suggested Mitch Marner of Toronto’s seven penalties during the night. “It’s something we have to be better and smarter about If we give this team the amount of power games we did last night, they’ll eventually score with a couple of them, which they did”We talked about it so we’re going to clean this up. It’s unacceptable and something we need to be better at”

In the end, Toronto still found its way to a win, overtaking Edmonton 4-3 and finishing the season 7-2-0. While the Leafs have 14 points in the top division so far, they have them too third highest penalties in the NHL (42) and average sixth highest penalty minutes per game (10:33)

Some of these violations, particularly Thursday’s slashed Kerfoot call that looked more like a stick lift, have sent waves of frustration across the Leafs for appearing wrong, but Keefe’s focus is on keeping his players out of the way Move positions in which they could even get the gate

“Some of them are calls that could go either way or maybe the referee would like them back,” said Keefe. “We got a couple of calls over the season that the referee commented on him made a mistake Such things happen I think these situations are usually a symptom of other things, like [on Thursday] some sentences probably shouldn’t have been imposed and yet the door is open because they are looking for slashes on the hands and when you are If the stick is slashed it can be misinterpreted as on hand. So just don’t do it ”

Keefe was also amused by the number of trip calls against Toronto this season after the team registered three more on Thursday alone.It’s something he’d like to discuss more closely with the Leafs next week when the club has a series of free Days has

“We’ll see if we can do something about it because if you look at it a lot of players do what we ask of them,” explained Keefe. “Their stick is down on the ice, they want to win pucks. We have received a lot of penalties this season where we won the puck but continuing to win the puck will result in skating and tripping so I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or if we can make the players aware of it ”

One thing the Leafs know they can’t is simply relying on the penalty kick to always get through It was late Thursday when William Nylander was called on a trip and the Oilers pulled Mikko Koskinen to create a 6v4 situation that Toronto could end. Even so, the Leafs penalty in the NHL is a 16 at 78 Fourth place in the overall standings and her eight power play goals are third in the league

“I thought we actually did a pretty good job against [the Oilers’ top power game],” admitted Jimmy Vesey, who averaged 1:24 per game on penalties in Toronto. “We had one lucky rebound from a clear hit [on Draisaitl’s first goal] but there was a lot of skill on this ice, they had two one-timer options and they scored”But we did it when it came down to it I just think we want to be a little more consistent and take fewer penalties”

The Leafs can put that plan into action immediately on Saturday when they face Edmonton for the fourth time in 10 days, potentially finishing a weeklong Alberta road trip with a fifth straight win

And if nothing else, all this time against the Oilers’ power play lately has certainly made Toronto aware that it can be dangerous and how to slow it down if necessary

“As a team we don’t want to be in the pits as much as we did last night,” said Morgan Rielly. “And of course this is an area that we need to clear up in order to receive these penalties I think [Connor McDavid and Draisaitl] are extremely important to [Edmonton’s power play] and I think they are able to make room for each other, their breakout attacks at a lot of speed, and I think we have enough band that we have to be coaches for us because we’re in the box a lot. So we’ll take a look and try to be as prepared as possible tomorrow evening ”

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Source: https://www.tsn.ca/shilton-red-hot-toronto-maple-leafs-aim-to-curb-careless-penalties-1.1585076