Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night, dropping the Leafs’ record to 24-15-6 on the season.
On Auston Matthews’ two-goal performance:
He was just feeling it. He was feeling it throughout the game. The thing that really stood out for me was just how he manufactured his first goal. It came from effort — effort defensively to get back. That was a big focus for us in the hockey game. He led the way for us there and got rewarded for it. You love to see that.
On whether he gets tempted to over-play Matthews in a game like this:
Yeah, I do. It’s just trying to manage it and not have others sitting for too long, but also trying to keep his rhythm and keep him going. In TV timeouts, when you see him get a breather and sense he is ready to go, it’s hard not to put him back out.
On the performance of Dermott – Holl in the matchup vs. the Scheifele line:
I thought they were good. I thought our whole team and our defense, for what we focused on going into the game in terms of managing the neutral zone better, were good. I thought those guys really led the way in that. It was positive. We’re trying to get Dermott to take a step here. Part of him taking a step is us giving him an opportunity; an additional opportunity, a better opportunity. Today was a good step for him there.
On the idea of extending 3-on-3 beyond five minutes:
I am okay with it. The shootout is a tough one. It’s not fun. Overtime and shootout are really toss ups. It can go either way. Overtime being what it is, you can dominate in overtime and you make one mistake and it is the breakaway the other way, or you can be getting dominated and get a breakaway the other way. Once you get past regulation, all bets are off for the most part.
On whether he is disappointed the team didn’t get a bit more out of the last two games:
I think so. Today is a much different game than the Edmonton game. I thought our effort was there today. I just didn’t think we did a good enough job of generating offense or putting the puck in good spots for us to generate offense. I thought we spent a lot of time trying to retrieve pucks and forecheck and that kind of stuff. They did a good job retrieving and breaking it out. As a result, we didn’t get much offense going.
At the same time, I didn’t think we gave up too much defensively. Ultimately, the difference in the game is we give them three gifts and they make good on it. We got one gift on a 3-on-1 and scored. We missed two open nets in the first period and missed a breakaway in the second period. They make good on theirs and we didn’t necessarily make good on ours, and that’s really the difference in the game.
On Frederik Andersen’s performance in the third period and OT:
He was great. In the third period, they had some perimeter shots and some stuff like that. They had one from the slot there that was pretty dangerous and we didn’t do a great job on. He was solid and gave us the chance to get the extra point for sure.
On Tavares admitting to making some costly mistakes leading to goals and looking like he’s fighting it overall the last couple of games:
He’s been fighting it a little bit here the last couple of games, but he is a pro and he is our leader. I’m not surprised that he would own up to it. He’ll do all that he can to regroup here. We’ve got a nice little break. We’ll have some fun tomorrow with the fans outdoors and then a little bit of time off. We’ll get down to Florida for a big game there and then it’s a chance to come home for a final week before we get a good solid break everyone needs.
On whether he is considering recalling a defenseman for the trip:
We haven’t talked about that at all. I don’t know what we are going to do with that.