Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators that dropped the Leafs to 1-5-0 in their last six and 19-9-2 on the season.
On the team’s performance after falling behind 2-0 early:
We got ourselves in a hole early. It is a tough game to be playing from behind. We have been doing that too much lately. I thought we had parts of our game where we played well. We had lots of pressure and did a lot of good things. Obviously, our start and the hole we dug ourselves there, and how we responded after getting ourselves down 1-0 off of that faceoff — those are the kinds of things that end up being the difference.
Overall, Ottawa was better tonight. They were better at 5v5. They were better on special teams. They were better in goal. They deserved the result.
On the concern level after a couple of bad efforts in a row and going 1-5-0 in the last six:
I don’t know. I don’t concern myself with those types of thoughts. We have an opportunity here now to get some rest and practice time. Obviously, it falls at the appropriate time in the schedule now with what we are going through. It gives us a chance to get back to work.
On pulling the goalie with over six minutes left when down 4-1:
We have had a lot of success with [early pulls] even this season. It is just kind of reacting to what is happening in the game. It’s a three-goal deficit. There is a lot of time left in the sense that there is six-plus minutes. If we didn’t get one soon, it would be probably insurmountable to come back.
We felt we needed one and all of our top guys were fresh at that point in time coming out of a TV timeout with an offensive-zone faceoff. It just made a lot of sense to go with that and see if we can get one. If we could, of course, it would change the remaining time significantly.
If we let time continue to wind down without getting anything to fall for us, the energy and the emotion of our bench alone would have been too much for us to overcome. We had to get something going at that point in time.
It just fell into place in terms of the guys being rested and the timeout. We still had another TV timeout to come on top of that. We felt pretty good about being able to ride those guys.
On whether he was surprised that the Ilya Mikheyev goal was called back for goaltender interference:
I thought it was one of those that is kind of grey. You don’t know which way it is going to go. I had a pretty good sense that it was going to be challenged. I think we would’ve done the same thing in that situation. It is just kind of up to the people upstairs or wherever they are making the call.
Like I said, we have seen enough of those and studied enough of those situations that we had a pretty good sense that it could go either way. I wasn’t surprised they challenged it, especially with a three-goal lead.
On the value of the four-day rest and if there are areas of focus for when the team gets back on the ice:
Yes, there is for sure. We will have lots of time to discuss it this week.