Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, dropping the team’s record to 18-6-2 on the season.
On what transpired in the third period:
I thought we had an excellent start to the third period. Our second period was not very good at all. We started off the third period really well and did all of the things we wanted to do with the lead. I thought we gave ourselves a few chances to extend the league and couldn’t get it to go in.
We shot the puck over the glass and gave them a free power play. We just didn’t get the kill, obviously. We didn’t get any kills against Vancouver here in these two games. It is a huge part of the game.
But it is a tie game, and we are on the road at the end of a long road trip with a chance to certainly either win the game or ensure we get a point out of it. We get back to the things that were a problem for us in the second period. We forced a play on the entry, turned it off, and we stopped playing and defending. That is the game.
When you only score two goals, the games are fragile. You have to take care of them. We didn’t do that very well here. More lessons for us here.
On what he makes of the road trip as a whole (sweeping Edmonton then getting swept by Vancouver):
Two completely different series. The games are completely different. The style of play is different. The lesson we take away from it — especially tonight’s game — is that we have enough offense to win the game or at least be in control in the third period. We had a good start and everything is going the way we want it to. We take a penalty we can’t take — you can’t just give them a freebie like that — but we also have to get a kill. We have got to get a kill and get a blocked shot — these kinds of things that make a big difference.
We didn’t go through that in the Edmonton series. We were in full control and we built big leads for the most part. It is a different type of game. These are really good, fragile games. You have to be good every single shift and on every puck. Vancouver plays four lines. They play extremely hard and they’re extremely competitive. They don’t give you anything for free.
We weren’t good enough in the details of our game and staying with it all the way through. It just goes to show that anybody in our division can beat anyone on a given night. We have to be good all the time. We have to stay with the process that works for us. If you go off script, you get the results you get here.
On whether the Matthews line has been out of sync in the last couple of games:
No. If you go back through it, Auston — I don’t know how many shots he had tonight — he had five shots last game. He had some point-blank opportunities or open nets. If those fall in, you are not asking me the question.
On how he feels about the progress of the penalty kill overall:
I thought we had shown tremendous growth in our penalty kill. These two games… I thought, if you go back and watch the penalty kill we had the other night against Vancouver, we actually did an unbelievable job killing the penalties. In fact, we had more chances to score than they did. They scored kind of a funny one from a bad angle on us. We kind of chopped that one up as not a big deal.
Today, the goal we gave up on the rush is not good enough. We’ve got to get a block and keep the puck out of our net with the game on the line there in the third. It is not a great sign for us there, but there has been a lot of really good things happening on our penalty kill here for the last 10 games or so. We will hope that we can get back to it.
On how the Tavares and Nylander line has looked of late:
I thought in the first period, that line was our best line. They were really moving well. William could have had two or three in the first period. He had some really great looks. Obviously, it was good to see John get one in. It was a big goal for us. I would definitely say that line looked good.