Sheldon Keefe highlights two areas Maple Leafs must improve to overcome Bruins

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe targets special teams and goaltending ahead of crucial playoff showdown with Boston Bruins

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe identified two areas that needed crossing off his list right away to save the playoff hopes of his team in their match-up against the Boston Bruins.

Keefe’s blunt assessment following a disheartening loss stressed the importance of strengthening their units on special teams and goaltending.

"Special teams and goaltending are two areas that we have to be better in," said Keefe in a post-game reflection.

Such statements indicate the Maple Leafs players' deep anxiety as they risk exile at the hands of their eternal rivals. While a variety of reasons contribute to their predicament, Keefe focuses on two key aspects of the game.

Power play, which was previously known as a very effective weapon, is now “horrifyingly bad.” And this is problematic; it amplifies the concerns about the team’s ability to score goals in man advantage. With the postseason hanging in the balance, rectifying this deficiency becomes paramount.

Beyond the power play woes, goaltending emerges as another area of pressing concern for Keefe and his coaching staff.

As the clock ticks down to Tuesday night's pivotal clash, all eyes will be on Keefe and his changes to see if they can translate his words into action on the ice.

Toronto Maple Leafs face critical Game 5 vs. Boston Bruins with uncertainty surrounding their star

The Toronto Maple Leafs are facing a critical Game 5 against the Boston Bruins, with uncertainty surrounding the availability of star center Auston Matthews.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe expressed hope that Matthews would recover from illness in time to play but said his status remained undetermined.

Matthews missed practice, and Max Domi was placed on the top line in his absence alongside Tyler Bertuzzi and Mitch Marner.

Matthews' illness pulled him out of Game 4 before the third period, and team physicians were concerned about his persistence and worsening while skating. Despite battling through illness in Game 3, he missed Friday's practice, enabling Connor Dewar to take over on the top line.

In the first-round series, Matthews has been held without a point in three games, though he shined in Game 2 with a three-point performance, including the game-winning goal.

The Maple Leafs have also faced challenges, with winger William Nylander sidelined for the first three games due to severe migraines. Nylander returned for Game 4 but failed to make a significant impact.

With the series standing at 3-1 in favor of the Bruins, the Maple Leafs are under pressure to win Game 5, scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET in Boston.

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