NEW YORK -- Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe repeatedly used the word 'soft' in describing his team's effort on Wednesday night.
I just thought we got exposed today for a team that was just soft," Keefe said. "Soft and purposeless."
Playing their fifth game of a six-game road trip, the Maple Leafs were without the services of Jake Muzzin. The hard-checking defenseman suffered a concussion during the Maple Leafs' 6-5 win against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Although the Leafs got off to a hot start and got first-period goals from Mitch Marner, Michael Bunting and Ilya Mikheyev, the Rangers scored five unanswered to squander another lead for the Leafs, a trend that has happened repeatedly on the trip.
"Each game has been different so it's hard to talk about patterns other than the obvious that we've been giving up leads," Keefe said.
"Our team had to be very very solid and purposeful and was trying to make life easier for our defencemen and goaltender and we didn't do that nearly enough," Keefe added.
Because of our good start we were in a position to get at least a point out of this game here tonight, we get two breakaways in the third period, if those go in it changes the result of the game but it doesn't change how we played. Not nearly good enough.
With the Rangers up 5-3, the Maple Leafs thought they may have cut the leafs when Auston Matthews put a puck past Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin.
The goal was waived off as it was ruled that Matthews kicked it in. His streak of goals in road games ended at 10 games, one shut of the NHL record.