Game 5 Notes: Keefe Defends Hole Decision With All Pressure On Maple Leafs

Game 5 Notes: Keefe Defends Hole Decision With All Pressure On Maple Leafs

TORONTO – Sheldon Cave three times re-watched the miserable Game 4 loss in Tampa.

Three times, he’s seen Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Justin Hall collapse into his own zone during Lightning’s first fierce turn and cough up a disc that would eventually lead to one temporary Steven Stamkos and a tsunami of momentum the wrong way.

But how he watched three-time Hall and his veteran partner Mark Giordano settle down after a terrible opening turnaround.

So, yes, Keefe gave “a lot of thought” to make changes to the squad after a 7-3 no-show on Sunday. But in the end, apart from locally adjusting some of the wings, he’ll roll with the same lineup that has consistently appeared in Game 4.

You might think Timothy Lillegren is better than Hall, but that’s your opinion.

“For me, the Giordano-Hall pairing was as good as we did,” Keefe argued on Tuesday morning. “Hulsey is the driver for that. For me, he came out with his best match of the two.”

Keefe uses numbers religiously to justify his observations.

The Maple Leafs have a 14-11 advantage in scoring chances with Hall on the ice at 5-on-5 in the series. With Liljegren, who played games 1 and 2, the chances are 12-12. (Righty Ilya Lyubushkin is caving at 17-31 in the category, and Giordano does well at 30-20.)

“Other than the first turn in the last game, I thought we moved the disc really well,” said Giordano. “He was doing good readings defensively.

“He is a confident guy. He just has to keep building on his game and do what he’s doing.”

On top of that, the referee’s chorus of whistles has been deafening this season, and Hall is one of Toronto’s most trusted players in killing penalty kicks and blockers.

Echoing the defense, Mitch Marner said, “Unbelievable. He’s been a fantastic player for us all year. He didn’t get the love he deserved.”

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Michael Bunting will join Auston Matthews and Marner at the highest unit in Toronto, a duo that has had far more success playing on ice at home than the Amalie Arena.

More interestingly, Keefe caught William Nylander into David Kamphe’s third line and away from midfield John Tavares.

The coach says the adjustment isn’t about dividing the top scorers second and third but more about putting the quick and responsible duo of Kambf, Pierre Engvall, Alexander Kervut and Ilya Mikheev into separate lines — a strategy to soften the pace of Tampa’s offensive that could roll in waves.

Regardless of their teammates, Core Four must be drivers in what could be a crucial game (good or bad) in their tenure. They have more to give.

“We played four hockey games,” Keefe said, trying to take some heat off his captain. “For me, John has worked hard, he has done good things. Elite and elite play for Willie for the goal he scored in the third half. [of Game 4]. As the series continues, he will have plenty of opportunities to make a difference

“John’s time will come. This is good news for us.”

Tampa will try to feed the ghosts

Alex Killorn knows the Maple Leafs hear it, all those comments about past first-round failures, all those hits about history they can’t correct and the boundaries they can’t beat.

“It’s just the way it is. It’s a huge market. We’ve talked a lot about this,” the Lightning booth said. “It’s definitely extra pressure on them. There is no way around it.

“We don’t have a lot of pressure in that sense, but we put a certain pressure on ourselves. We want to win this series just like them. We don’t care how many times they haven’t made it through the first round or something else. It’s the same pressure on us. But the media? Surely there is.” Different pressure on them.”

To that end, the heroes will do their best to score first. For example, the team that scored the first goal in every match in this series not only won the game, but also advanced by three goals and was never drawn.

More importantly, if Tampa can get to Toronto early, Scotiabank Arena calms down and panic may creep in.

“You make everyone nervous. You want to make people feel uncomfortable. That’s our job,” Tampa coach John Cooper said.

Keefe says that in the depths of the series, the tactical part of his job is regressing. Both teams learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Motivation must be given. Check the risks.

The greatest task of a coach is to manage emotions.

“It’s the playoffs, and you’re up and down. And that’s tough, isn’t it? Even the media is going up and down. Emotion is all over the place. That’s the nature of the game. That’s why you love this time of year, because you’re going through so many different things. And you’re kind of riding that wave,” Keefe said.

“It’s more about attrition than anything else. Trying to wear teams. Trying to have a mental and physical advantage where you can. This has been playing a little bit in each of the games we’ve seen.”

Cooper has the rings to show confidence and didn’t lack it in the morning as he gave his players the option to appear on the rink.

However, Cooper sees the momentum as a pendulum that turned the game into a game. No team has won two in a row.

“It was just a weird series. It feels like the team is out of it after the first, and everyone can go home. It’s like playing the last two stints. I don’t expect that to happen going forward here.

“I can’t speak for Toronto here, but I’d be shocked if we didn’t come out playing hard.”

Predicted Maple Leafs Game 5 Lines

Darsa – Matthews – Marner

Mikheev – Tavares – Kervot

Nylander – kamph – engval

Spiza – Blackwell – Cassie

Riley – Lyubushkin

Muzzin – Brody

Giordano – Hall

Campbell starts

Calgreen

2022-05-10 19:47:00

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