Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was blunt in his postgame assessment after his team let two important points slip away Sunday versus the Buffalo Sabres.
"This is the worst we've been in a really long time," Keefe said, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton. "We haven't really put our game together for quite some time, but this was different today where for most of the game it didn't feel like we were in the building at all."
Buffalo heavily outplayed Toronto through the first 40 minutes, but the Maple Leafs managed to tie the game at 2-2 in the third period. The Sabres went on to score three goals in 1:31 and win the game 5-2.
The Maple Leafs, playing their third game in four nights against a rested Sabres team, were dominated in nearly every aspect. Buffalo outshot Toronto 36-22 while owning 63.63% of expected goals and 64.62% of scoring chances at five-on-five, per Natural Stat Trick.
"We need to find more solutions to our depth, injuries, and things we've had." Keefe said, according to the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan. "We're finding some challenges on our third and fourth lines and on our defense on the back-to-back and the schedule the way it's been, it revealed itself in the game today."
Toronto has managed just one regulation win in its last nine contests. The club currently sits third in the Atlantic Division, four points ahead of the Florida Panthers, who have two games in hand.
The Leafs return to action Tuesday for the first of consecutive games versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. After the home-and-home set, Toronto will play the Hurricanes, Lightning, and Panthers in what should be a critical stretch in the Eastern Conference standings.