Keefe, Maple Leafs, 'confident' heading into Game 3.
Alan Schwartz/CSM/Zuma  

Keefe, Maple Leafs, 'confident' heading into Game 3.

The Maple Leafs remain confident heading into Game 3 despite giving up an early 2-0 series lead to the Florida Panthers.

Jonathan Larivee

The Toronto Maple Leafs entered their second round series against the Florida Panthers brimming with confidence after knocking off a historically great Boston Bruins team in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but their first two games against those same Panthers have been a rude awakening.

The Maple Leafs are now forced to travel to sunny Florida down 0-2 in the series, but in spite of the undesirable deficit to kick off the second round they remain confident they can emerge victorious. On Saturday, head coach Sheldon Keefe indicated that there was some excitement in getting on the road in this series given the success his team has had in FLA Live Arena.

"The group feels good and remains confident, optimistic," said Keefe on Saturday. "Excited to get out on the road, obviously it's a place that we've developed some confidence."

Keefe was no doubt referring to several of his players here but may have been thinking of Maple Leafs forward William Nylander in particular, whom he showered with praise following Game 2 in spite of the loss.

“The way that William took charge of the game in the third period shows what he’s capable of doing and what we need more of,” said Keefe of Nylander's play in the third period of Game 2.

Unfortunately the Maple Leafs are going to need more than just confidence if they hope to turn this series around.