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WAKEUP CALL: Leafs hope their alarmingly slow starts are behind them

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Because the calendar flips to November, may or not it’s that the Maple Leafs have lastly fastened their game-night alarm clock?

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Their first eight matches had a troubling development — both a flat begin with defensive breakdowns or being foiled up entrance and letting these missed possibilities seep into their psyche. Toronto was giving up early-period targets and had allowed 12 through the second body, essentially the most of any Jap Convention workforce, as of Sunday afternoon.

Fortunes started turning once they got here again from 2-0 to beat Chicago in time beyond regulation after which deflated the Pink Wings with some well timed targets of their very own in Saturday’s 5-4 win.

They dominated the night time’s first 10 minutes, struck within the final 20 seconds of each the primary and second durations — a franchise first — after which once more within the first minute of the third.
Detroit stored at it tight to the 5-4 closing horn however, for a change, the Leafs weren’t chasing the sport all night time. Their first back-to-back wins this yr included a Mitch Marner profitable aim.

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“The principle half is we simply haven’t had the lead late in video games sufficient this season,” stated coach Sheldon Keefe. “Now we have greater than sufficient expertise that we ought to be higher than that. Getting snug with a lead is a staple of an excellent hockey workforce.”
Main Saturday’s early swarm was the road of Alex Kerfoot, John Tavares and Marner.

“We had lots of zone time, transferring the puck nicely and had some movement,” stated Kerfoot, who scored and assisted on one by Tavares. “It’s exhausting to get wins on this league. We’re constructing in direction of one thing and we’re not there, but. We confirmed tonight it’s not clear sufficient, we now have to shut out video games higher. We’ve given up lots of simple alternatives, we now have to get again to the place we’re not dishonest for offence.”

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JAKE’S TAKE

Jake Muzzin has been a bit terse in his previous couple of appearances earlier than the media, which will be linked to a dip in his play earlier than scoring in Saturday’s win. Muzzin and common companion Justin Holl had been damaged up with the latter benched and Muzzin now paired with TJ Brodie.

“It’s a part of his persona, he’s not going to indicate (the general public) very a lot,” Keefe stated.

“Whether or not he’s enjoying nice and the workforce is rolling or not as a lot, that’s a part of Jake.

“However this man has received the Stanley Cup, he’s bought excessive expectations, excessive requirements of himself and our workforce.”

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UNION STATION

Kerfoot is the Leafs’ new NHLPA rep, leaping proper into the fireplace with an govt board convention name on Monday that may put chief Donald Fehr within the highlight for the union’s response to sexual assault allegations in Chicago dropped at gentle by Kyle Seaside.

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“I don’t have sufficient info when it comes to the dealing with of the NHLPA to make an correct remark proper now,” Kerfoot stated when requested about Fehr and the assembly. “I’m positive I’ll inform myself earlier than that and we’ll have a dialogue among the many group.”
Kerfoot volunteered to take the rep’s position from the departed Zach Hyman.

“While you’re in a career like this, you wish to be as concerned as you possibly can,” Kerfoot stated. “That’s simply how I’m, I wish to be within the know, on board with what’s occurring across the league, present enter and assist one another. It doesn’t imply different guys like Jason Spezza and J.T. (Tavares) received’t be concerned.”

MOTOR CITY HITCH-HIKER

Wings basic supervisor Steve Yzerman had a particular passenger when driving from Detroit to Toronto for Saturday’s recreation.

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Joe Veleno, main scorer of the Wings’ farm workforce in Grand Rapids, was referred to as up with Tyler Bertuzzi unable to cross the border as a result of he refuses to be vaccinated. Slightly than trouble with a flight, Yzerman drove Veleno proper to SBA, the place he had a aim and help.

Hockey historian Bob Duff recollects the Leafs doing that when for a call-up. In future captain Pink Horner’s first recreation in 1928 as a Marlies call-up, supervisor Conn Smythe picked him up and dropped him at Mutual St. Area as Horner didn’t have a automobile.

LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs had Sunday off earlier than beginning a routine of apply day-game day for a lot of the subsequent two weeks … The Newfoundland Growlers aren’t coming to Toronto this month, in spite of everything. The Leafs’ ECHL farm workforce, evicted from its area in St. John’s in a constructing administration dispute, have elected to play a set of residence video games at a small rink in close by Conception Bay South, reasonably than transfer right here and use Coca-Cola Coliseum whereas the Marlies are absent … Josh Ho-Sang’s 5 targets have been tied for third within the AHL as of Sunday afternoon … Goalie Michael Hutchinson has been loaned to the AHL Marlies … Whereas Saturday’s targets with lower than 20 seconds to go in consecutive durations had by no means occurred, it was the fourth time the Leafs had a pair within the closing 30 seconds in accordance with NHL Stats, the earlier time being when Andy Bathgate and Bob Pulford scored within the first and second durations towards Montreal on Nov. 14, 1964.

lhornby@postmedia.com

  

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