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Rick Zamperin: New twist from Sheldon Keefe’s new look Toronto Maple Leafs

Newly appointed Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe runs a practice session in Toronto on Monday, November 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein says, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Whether or not the scientific genius actually said that, you could say the Toronto Maple Leafs have taken those words to heart.

Ten days after firing head coach Mike Babcock and replacing him with Sheldon Keefe, the Maple Leafs have been playing like an entirely different team.

The players seem to be having more fun playing under Keefe and the results speak for themselves.

READ MORE: Johnsson leads Maple Leafs to 6-0 win over Red Wings

Toronto ended the Babcock era on a miserable six-game losing streak but have strung together three consecutive victories with their new bench boss, outscoring their opposition 14-4 along the way.

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Come Friday afternoon when the Leafs visit the Buffalo Sabres in a Black Friday matinee, the team will employ its newest wrinkle.

READ MORE: Hutchinson to start opener of back-to-back

Babcock’s insistence to start Frederik Andersen in the first half of a back-to-back followed by the team’s backup was a horrifying failure this season as Toronto has gone 0-5-1 in the second half of those games.

Just as he has done with other parts of the Leafs game — increasing puck possession and implementing a swarming defensive game plan — Keefe is mixing it up by starting backup goalie Michael Hutchinson Friday followed by Andersen on Saturday night.

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Hutchinson was placed on waivers after Toronto lost in Chicago on Nov. 10 but has since gone 3-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .942 save percentage with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

Friday’s game is another chance for the new look Maple Leafs to rally around their backup netminder and show us that they have truly reversed course and are on a new path to playing their best hockey.

Click to play video: '‘I’m not focused on what this team isn’t; I’m focused on what this team is’: Keefe' ‘I’m not focused on what this team isn’t; I’m focused on what this team is’: Keefe
‘I’m not focused on what this team isn’t; I’m focused on what this team is’: Keefe – Nov 21, 2019

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