TORONTO — After blowing a four-goal lead to the NHL’s last-place team, the Toronto Maple Leafs rested their bodies.
But they didn’t rest their minds.
“Obviously we needed to have a discussion,” head coach Sheldon Keefe said before Wednesday’s rematch with the Ottawa Senators. “When you get a loss like that, the way that it went down, you don’t want to let it fester.”
For Keefe, Monday’s 6-5 overtime loss to Ottawa offered a chance to reset some fundamentals with his North Division-leading team. He’s identified sloppy puck management seeping into their play of late and met that head-on. He hopes the negatives attached to squandering a 5-1 lead can be turned into opportunity for further growth after an 11-3-2 start to this campaign.
It’s notable that there was no old-school skating punishment or lineup reshuffling.
In fact, the only small tweak being made is moving Joe Thornton to the net-front on the top power play unit. Otherwise, the Leafs are rolling back with the same lines, defensive pairings and Frederik Andersen starting in goal.
The main objective is rediscovering the tight, patient game that’s become their hallmark these last few weeks.
“I think that’s what we’re looking for here, is just to refocus and get back to the way that we played throughout the game [Monday] because the reality is the same team that gives up the lead is the same team that built the lead,” said Keefe. “We…