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Keefe blasts 'rotten' special teams as Leafs blow two-goal lead in OT loss

Islanders score on Maple Leafs Islanders score on Maple Leafs - Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe blasted his club's performance on special teams following a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday.

The Maple Leafs blew a 3-1 lead in the defeat and allowed the Islanders to convert on two of three power plays, with Kyle Palmieri scoring just 40 seconds into the game after an early Leafs penalty and Bo Horvat tipping home the game-tying goal in the second period.

"Special teams were rotten tonight," Keefe said, per "Our power play, penalty kill, and overtime [were rotten]. That costs you games. Our power play had one chance and did nothing with it.

"It's as bad as we've looked on any power play, and on the penalty kill, the puck's in our net before we could blink to start the game."

The power play has been a strength for the Maple Leafs this season, with the team ranking sixth in the league at a conversion rate of 26.7 per cent. Penalty killing, however, continues to be an issue, with the team ranking 24th in the league, killing off 76.8 per cent of their penalties against.

Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews, who was called for tripping just 31 seconds into Thursday's game, saw his two-goal effort wasted in the overtime loss. 

"I thought there was a lot of good we did in the game," Matthews said. "They're a good team. They play really well on both sides of the puck. They make it hard on you offensively, so I thought it was pretty back-and-forth. Just a game of inches out there."

Following his latest multi-goal game, Matthews now owns a three-goal cushion for the NHL goals lead at 33, ahead of Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart, who has 30.

Toronto will look to bounce back after seeing a four-game winning streak end Thursday when they take on the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday in the first of back-to-game home games this weekend.