Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, dropping the Leafs’ record to 28-19-7 on the season.
On whether it was a missed opportunity after the start the team had:
I think that is fair. We did get off to a good start and set ourselves up really well. There is a lot of game left to play, so I don’t know if it was a missed opportunity, necessarily, but it is very disappointing that we weren’t able to build upon that. Instead, we gave it back and then dug ourselves a hole we just weren’t able to get out of.
On where the club was most vulnerable as the game progressed:
Obviously, the third goal — we get two faceoffs right away there that we just weren’t alive on. It happened bang-bang. 2-1, we can manage that. 3-1 is tough. That was a big moment.
I thought in the second period we had a lot of really good things happening. Obviously, we scored the goal to make it one. The fourth goal was pretty defeating and devastating, frankly, and we just didn’t have anything from there.
On Hutchinson’s performance:
I think that we need saves as a team. We need him to be better in those spots when we have those lapses there. At the same time, our team has to do a better job of protecting him. The second goal, again, is a bang-bang play off of a faceoff… We’ll give them that one. To not be alive and ready off the drop for the next one, that is just making life real hard on your goalie. We don’t like that… He dropped his stick on the fourth one, but we need a save there.
On how the team can keep the two-game slip from spiralling:
We need a good response from our team. We need to show life and character and all of those types of things. I didn’t really like today. I know it’s tough and hard when you work your way back to get it 3-2 and you feel like you have a chance and the next shot goes in. That is real tough on the players and the team, but we have to find a way to be better there and give ourselves more life and more energy, recognizing the game is still there and there is lots of time left. In terms of how we stop it from spiraling, we need to regroup and go back on home ice and have an effort more like we had against Florida all the way through and try to get a better result from it.
On Cody Ceci’s status:
I have no update on Ceci. I saw him skate off, but I didn’t hear anything from the training staff or anything, and I still haven’t had anything.
On the fights at the end of the game:
It happens. It is tough to see Hyms go off bleeding like that, but it is what it is.
On whether he thought the whistle was blown before the empty-net goal:
I was upset about the fact that I thought there should’ve been at least a power play for us coming out of that. Would it have made a difference? Likely not, but any time you see a guy in a skirmish like that with one glove on, he is not a fully willing combatant, I don’t think. He was just trying to protect himself. It is what it is, but I don’t like to see that.