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The Toronto Maple Leafs may as well have been out until the early hours of Monday morning partying in various Las Vegas casinos with how they began their contest last night against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas easily bested the Leafs, who were behind the play in every facet of the game over the course of the 3-1 setback. With the loss, the Leafs dropped to 4-3 so far in the young 2022-23 NHL season.
Afterward, head coach Sheldon Keefe lamented his team's slow start, and accepted his share of the blame.
"It certainly was an issue tonight in all three periods," Keefe said. "I share in that as well. My job is to prepare the team. Clearly, we were not as ready as the opponent was. They jumped right on top of us at the start of each period."
"Yeah, that’s a concern. It was too easy for them to do that tonight."
"It took us 10-12 minutes in the first and second period to really get our game going," he continued. "In the back half of each of those periods, we were fine. In the third period, we didn’t find it at all. Probably a symptom of them scoring, getting the lead, and us not having enough pushback to get through like we needed to."
His players shared in his sentiment, saying that how they played can't be repeated.
"Unacceptable," Mitch Marner said.
"Came out flat," said William Nylander.
The Leafs will now turn their attention to their impending matchup against the San Jose Sharks, who are among the NHL's worst teams so far this year.