Following a 4-3 loss to the Coyotes on Monday night, the postgame discussion wasn't centred around positives in play despite a negative result.
The first two periods of the game were not in line with what the Leafs have shown this year as the Coyotes carried much of the play. An early power play goal put the Leafs on their heels and the team couldn't gain much traction until the third period.
The inability to maintain offensive zone time through 40 minutes was compounded by trouble with discipline, putting extra strain on a penalty kill looking to rediscover its structure. The disparity in performance was obvious as the club virtually matched its shot attempt output from the first 40 minutes in the third period alone.
Leafs head coach Mike Babcock was disappointed with the response from the club following a poor opening frame. The consistency from shift-to-shift will continue to be a point of emphasis moving forward.
“If I look at the whole game, the part that I didn’t like as a coach is to me, in the second period, when things went bad on us we didn’t respond," said Babcock. "We felt… I don’t know if it’s the pressure of being here or what it was, I could feel it on the bench. We didn’t just keep coming, which is disappointing as far as I’m concerned."
"In life sometimes things go bad, there’s no sense feeling bad for yourself. Just keep playing. But I didn’t think we responded in the second, we waited until the third to respond, and in the end we didn’t have enough. We were too late. I mean, we had some looks and all that, but still – too little too late.”
The Leafs will look to clean up the tentative tendencies when they return to the practice ice on Tuesday.