Maple Leafs Head Coach Baffled By Team's Performance vs Panthers

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe can't figure out what's gone wrong. His core four and whole team in general played great against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the team's first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series, but unfortunately the strong play has not continued against the Florida Panthers in the second round.

The Leafs are down 3-0 to the Panthers and have their backs up against the wall heading into Game 4 on Wednesday. Toronto's deserved to win one of the games so far in the series but unfortunately are trying to beat Florida without their best players playing as their best players. It also doesn't help when your starting netminder goes down to injury in a 0-0 game.

Keefe spoke to the media ahead of Game 4 and had this to say about all the confusion in Leafs Nation:

Obviously it's felt a lot more like what we've been through in the past. It's been challenging, it's been difficult to understand, yet it's our reality and it's where we're at. It's been a mixed bag in this series so far. At times we've played extremely well and then haven't converted or haven't gotten rewarded for it. At times we've been in control of the game and have given up a lead. Perhaps most importantly in the Tampa series for us was how resilient we were just to stay with it. Even at times when we were on our heels and the opposition was really coming, we didn't make the big mistake ... Our team found different ways to win in that series, and we have found ways to lose here in this one. They've had a lot of scoring chances in this series that haven't fallen, haven't gone their way. They were dominant, in many ways, in Game 2. It's meant to be hard. Anything worth achieving is hard.

Only four teams in NHL history have come back from 3-0 deficit, so Keefe's right, winning this series is going to be very hard for the Maple Leafs.

Photo credit: © John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports