Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 defeat to the Calgary Flames, the Leafs’ sixth loss in their last seven games.
On how difficult it is to fall behind 2-0 in the first game back from the break:
Very tough. It is a tough sport to play any time you give up a goal on the first shot on net. It is tough. When things are going the way they had been for our team, we had some time to regroup a little bit, and then to have that be the first shot ending up in the net, it is tough.
There is traffic there and it hit Derms on the way in and changed direction. We find our way back. We get the game all tied. We lose a draw on the penalty kill, and again, it goes in off our guy’s ass again for a second time.
Tough luck there. That is the way it is going. We just have to continue to focus on the things that we can do to not put ourselves in those positions where those pucks can’t be directed at our net and aren’t in our own zone. We can do a better job structurally.
On each of the goals, there are situations there where we can do a lot better and not put ourselves in those positions. I don’t think we did that much today — I don’t know how many shots we gave up, but it seemed like not many. We didn’t give up many chances at all. And yet there are things we can do a whole lot better on the ones that did end up going in.
On the difference in the Flames’ play under Darryl Sutter:
That is hard to say. In my focus on the two games we played against them here, they were games where we didn’t get much offense. That team has played us hard. When we watched them in the games coming into tonight, you see that they are playing a little more direct with a little more focus on the forecheck and protecting the net a little bit better.
It is hard for me to really pinpoint and say because that team has played us really hard, especially in this building. It has been difficult for us to get to the net in all three games we have played against them here.
On the expectation for Jack Campbell in his first game back tomorrow:
I expect him to battle the way that he has. He has played great for us. He is a guy who goes in with a ton of confidence. Obviously, no matter who is in goal for us, we have to focus on our game in front of the goaltender and protect him and do a good job with good structure. That is an area where we have to continue to get better no matter who is in goal.
We have used three goalies here if you go all the way back to that Edmonton series. We have used different goaltenders and found ways to succeed no matter who is in the net. I certainly know the guys are going to want to play hard for Jack tomorrow.
He has worked really hard to get himself ready. We are certainly expecting a great and competitive effort from him, but we have to focus on all of the guys that are playing in front of him and find ways to be better.
On whether there is any doubt creeping into the team’s psyche:
I don’t think doubt at all. We are still confident. If you look at each of the games, if you take away the two previous to this one today, we carried the play and we were generating more chances than we are giving up, but we ended up on the wrong side of games.
You still have a great deal of belief in terms of your process and what you are capable of doing as a team. But today, again, we chased the game and gave one up on the first shot on goal. The second one was just a bad line change for us that left us exposed.
It is little things like that that are self-inflicted and we can clean up. The fact that we have been in each game and have really carried the play in each game — each game has been close — we feel like it can get on the other side in a hurry. There is no doubt in that sense, but there is certainly frustration. You want to get the results.
We have to regroup here and recognize that this is an opportunity for us to realize how it is that we need to play and how consistent we need to be. I expected us to have a little bit of a lull coming into the game here, just having had the biggest break we had this season without a game. But we didn’t expect to have to dig our way out of a hole. I thought we got our legs as we got going.
At times in the second period and through the third, we had the puck, we had pressure, and all of those things of things. Those are signs of life for us, but we have to find a way to get a win here, and then all of a sudden everything eases up a little bit. But it is not going to be easy.
On Alex Galchenyuk’s debut:
I thought he skated really well. I thought he forechecked really well. I think that is an underrated part of his game. It was something somewhat unexpected — the more I watched his game on video, both in the NHL with Ottawa and in his time with the Marlies, the way he moves his feet and gets up the ice and puts pressure on the other team’s defense.
That created some opportunities for his line today. It really helped them spend time in the offensive end. When he has the puck, he is confident and looks to make a play with it.
I liked his game today. It looked to me like he had the potential to score if a puck came to him in the right spot. He looked like he was hungry and had good legs. I was encouraged by what I saw from him.