Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night, dropping the Leafs’ record to 35-25-9 on the season.
On the team’s offense drying up in the past couple of games:
Obviously, we look at the last couple of games on this trip and we haven’t been able to generate much offensively. That is part of it. You look at a lot of the goals that we scored here in recent games and a lot of it has been happening in and around the net. We need to have more of a presence in there.
It is an interesting road trip. If you’d ever think that our team would give up two goals in two games and only come away with one point, you’d probably think we were talking about a different team. That is the reality and that is the way it was this week.
The offensive dried up for us. A lot of the things that had been going in for us haven’t and didn’t this trip. You don’t get results as a result.
On how the team is going to keep its spirits up after a tough road trip:
It is difficult, but just the fact that our team takes a lot of heat for how we defend and what we give up and how many goals we give up — those types of things — and how wide open the games are… We focus on that a lot as a team in terms of slowing a lot of that stuff down. I think we have done that for a while now. Today wasn’t as good as yesterday in that regard, but we’ve got to find ways within that to generate offense.
I think the positives are that our guys will feel good that they are playing in these tight games and feel good about the fact that on a back-to-back at the end of the trip here, we did have our best period in the third and had a pretty strong push throughout the period. We will regroup and be ready to play on home ice.
On the power play’s recent struggles:
It has gone dry. What I am seeing is that a lot of the shots that had been going in for us haven’t been going in here in recent games. When that happens, you’ve got to really look at things and see what we can change and see what we can do differently to find some different looks and change things up a little bit.
We have scored at pretty much ridiculous pace for quite some time here now. Over time, those things dry up a little bit and you need to make adjustments.
On whether goaltenders are getting a read on Auston Matthews’ shot on the power play now and are anticipating it is coming:
I think that is part of it, sure. They know where the shot is coming. Also, if I were a betting man, I would think that those are going to go in here in the near future.
On how the team is dealing with the frustration and Marner’s penalty in the second period:
That was definitely a frustration penalty. We didn’t like that. That is not a good characteristic for us, especially in such a close game. We’ve got to stay composed and stay with it. We talked about that a little bit before the game: If we don’t fill the net in the first period, we can’t lose our cool and get frustrated by it. We’ve got to stay with it and have faith and confidence that we are going to score — that we are a team that does score and will score. It didn’t happen for us on this trip, and that is disappointing.
Obviously, we wish we had played better. I think the disappointing part of this game here for me is the first period. We’ve got to have a better start here coming off of the back-to-back and coming off of not getting the other point yesterday. We’ve got to have a better start than we did. That is the disappointing part.
In terms of the frustration, I think we will be fine. We’ve got a few days here now for things to settle. We’ll regroup and get back ready to play.
On returning home for the upcoming stretch with some time between games:
It is important. We get a little bit of rest here, which first of all, is important for us getting back home and back on Eastern time and all of that kind of stuff. We will have ample time to prepare to get back and play on home ice. We haven’t played great there for a while now. We’ve got to be excited about a chance to play there but recognize that we’ve got to find ways to play better on home ice. We are still looking for more consistency both in our effort and our results.
On whether the team got any closer to consistency this week:
In parts of our game we did. I also think that we are showing real signs of fatigue, I think — particularly on our defense with the guys we have asked a lot from. Getting Ceci back today is a positive step in that direction. I just look at some of our other guys that are playing a lot of minutes and are kind of in the wrong slots. It seems to be catching up a little bit for our group. Luckily, the schedule is letting up on us here now. Ceci’s return is a positive step for us and Rielly’s return is not too far away. We expect that is going to help our group and that in itself, I think, will give us some extra life.