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How Flyers Have Fared Against Devils Head Coach Sheldon Keefe

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Sheldon Keefe
(Photo: Sportswire)

The New Jersey Devils officially announced the hiring of new head coach Sheldon Keefe on Thursday, which means the Philadelphia Flyers have a new shot-caller to go toe-to-toe with in the Metropolitan Division every year. Keefe’s hiring simply cannot go unnoticed; the former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach ripped off three consecutive 100-point seasons during his time in Toronto and managed to make the playoffs in all five of his seasons in charge.

And, for those who don’t know, Keefe played in the NHL from 2000 to 2003 as a forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning and was coached by current Flyers bench boss John Tortorella in all three of his seasons in the big leagues. Suffice to say, Keefe has learned from the best, and his results, playoffs notwithstanding, have shown it.

In his first true test as an NHL head coach, the 43-year-old lost to Tortorella’s Blue Jackets in the playoffs in 2020 but has an 8-2-0 record against the Flyers since taking over as Maple Leafs head coach in Nov. 2019.

Since Tortorella took over as Flyers head coach in 2022, the Flyers went just 1-4-0 against Keefe’s Maple Leafs, with the sole win against Toronto coming in a 4-3 win at the Wells Fargo Center on March 19.

Now that Keefe is with the Devils and in the Metropolitan Division for the first time, he’ll have an even greater opportunity at postseason success. New Jersey’s roster has greater depth than what Toronto had, especially defensively. Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec, in particular, are better puck movers than anyone Keefe had at his disposal with the Maple Leafs.

The Flyers, as rebuilders, are likely going to continue to factor into Keefe’s prolonged regular season success, having defeated the young head coach just twice in his five seasons in charge at the NHL level. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL know this just as well; Keefe won the Calder Cup as head coach of the Toronto Marlies in the 2017-18 season after defeating the Texas Stars in seven games.

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