Struggling Maple Leafs seek answers: 'We're not where we want to be'
Kevin Sousa / National Hockey League / Getty

John Tavares believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are still searching for their identity after suffering a third straight loss Thursday against the New York Islanders.

"We're not where we want to be," Tavares said following the 5-4 defeat, according to TSN's Mark Masters. "We obviously want to play a lot better, a lot more consistent. We got to keep working to find a way."

The Maple Leafs have won just nine of their first 20 games of the campaign. They've conceded the opening tally in 15 of those contests and allowed a 21st-ranked 3.25 goals against per game.

"When you evaluate what we've done in 20 games, we don't like it as a group," head coach Mike Babcock said, according to Masters. "We think we can be better and we'll identify the areas again tomorrow as we go through it and grind our way out of this.

"We got ourselves in the spot we're in, we've got to grind our way out of it."

Toronto boasted the majority of possession against the Islanders, posting a Corsi For rating of 62.37% while generating 54.72% of the scoring chances. But defenseman Jake Muzzin said a recent lack of focus has proved costly.

"We have confidence in this group, in the team, in the room, we're just having some weird lapses through the game and it's costing us," Muzzin said. "We just have to be sharper throughout a full 60, shift to shift, more focused, better preparation and we'll come out on top in these games."

The Maple Leafs face a tough stretch to close out November. Toronto plays back-to-back contests against the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins this weekend, with the latter tilt kicking off a six-game road trip.

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Struggling Maple Leafs seek answers: 'We're not where we want to be'
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