Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 6-4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night, dropping the Leafs’ record to 24-15-5 on the season.
On the decision to pull Frederik Andersen at 3-0:
You only have about five seconds to make that decision. Just through experience more than anything in that scenario is kind of why I made it very quickly. Before I did, I just didn’t want to let Freddy play behind that. That is not fair to him. To that point, it felt like he had already had a full game’s worth of work. We made a change. Sometimes when you make that change, it gets the team’s attention. Obviously, we didn’t get their attention in the first intermission like we would’ve liked to or thought that we would have. It didn’t transfer to the ice, so we had to do something such as that to get our team’s attention and to save Freddy from what was happening.
On his message to Andersen after the pull:
I just told him exactly that: I told him I wasn’t going to let him play behind that. I didn’t think it was fair to him and we needed to make a change. I had no issue with anything that he was doing in the net. Like I said, it was almost a full game’s worth of work up until that point.
On the difference in defensive efforts on Saturday night vs. tonight:
Significantly different. From the start of the game, it just didn’t seem like it was going to be our day today. From our touches of the puck, to how competitive we were or non-competitive we were on loose-puck situations, it just wasn’t to the same level that we’ve had.
All of that said, you’ve got to give some credit to Edmonton. They played really well today. Right from the drop of the puck, it was pretty clear they were here for a reason today. They played at another level — a higher level than we did today — and I would say a higher level than any of the opponents we’ve played here for quite some time.
On whether he felt the third goal coming after the 2-0:
I’m not really feeling the third goal coming, no. You’re still feeling a little bit of shock and disappointment on what happens on the second goal, to be honest. We tried to reset the team in the first intermission — reset the team with the fact that we weren’t playing well and what we weren’t doing well enough, and also just sort of instilling some confidence in the fact that with all that occurred, we were still down 1-0 and had some great looks. Perhaps we could’ve gotten out of that period… With some of the chances we had — JT was in point-blank there — it could’ve been even. We tried to build some confidence on that fact. If we could just dust ourselves off and play like we were capable of, we would’ve been okay.
That response was disappointing. It was a little bit of shock and disappointment there with how that second goal transpired. We just completely lost our structure defensively, which clearly was a focus of ours yesterday and today in terms of maintaining that structure and not opening up the ice like we did for #97. When you open the ice up for him, it is going to make life easy for him, like it was today.