Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Oilers concluded the season series vs. Edmonton at 6-1-2.
On Michael Hutchinson’s performance:
He played well. He did his job for us. He kept them at two goals. When you keep them at two goals through regulation, that is enough for you to win a game. We couldn’t get that third goal that we needed.
On what the team did well defensively against McDavid and Draisaitl:
I thought we didn’t give them much room. The neutral zone was real tough for them. I thought we forced them to dump a lot of pucks and play a lot on the forecheck. Obviously, they can do that, too, but it takes away a lot of the strength of their game, which is playing on the rush and playing in transition with the puck on their stick.
I thought we did a really good job of that throughout. For the most part, the Matthews line had that matchup. I didn’t want to disrupt our flow too much with it, so we had other lines. Each of our other lines really had some time against them. Everybody did a good job.
On the job the Muzzin-Holl pairing is able to do against the Oilers’ top players:
They defend them well. They have good sticks. They play them hard. They really get excited about the chance to play against them. Certainly, there is a lot to be said for the job those guys do.
Rielly-Brodie also get tasked with that at times. You need more than just one pairing because they play so much and the nature of the game with line changes and such.
It is difficult to just have the D worried about it. If you allow their best players to play in isolation in one-on-one situations too much, it is a real challenge. I just like that our forwards insulated the defense and helped everybody out really well.
On the latest updates on Andersen and Campbell:
No update on Andersen yet. I will let you know when I have a little more clarity with it. Campbell, with another day here today, we are expecting he should be okay for us to play in the next game.
On what the team can take away from the two games against Edmonton heading into the challenge coming up against Winnipeg:
At different times, in the games we played against Edmonton this season, they have really been the model of what we are capable of as a team. In these last two games against Edmonton, we haven’t done it quite for three periods. In both games, the second period had issues for us — tonight again. I thought that second period really wore us down tonight. We didn’t have a whole lot of legs after that.
Certainly, in terms of the way that we focused in and defended, I thought we did a good job here tonight against their best people. Obviously, that is important. We are going up against the deepest opponent that we face in our division in terms of their forward lines and the depth that they have. We have to have that level of focus every shift. That is something for us to take away, for sure. We have shown what we are capable of.
On how the team can bottle what its done against the Oilers in the season series and use it as a model going forward:
Not in every game that we played them this season and not on every shift when we have played against their best guys have we done the job we want to do. When you don’t do it, you look real bad real quick. That in itself kind of shocks the system and gets you dialed in and focused on it.
The last time we played Winnipeg, it was pretty similar. With the talent and skill level that they have, if you aren’t good shift to shift — if you break your structure and turn the puck over in bad spots — their transition is as good as anybody, and it is not just one line. It is two lines of high-end skill and a third line that is as good of a checking/grinding line and right now is playing against the best lines. It is a great challenge there.
It should be easy for us in terms of the level of respect that we have for the opponent to bring the same level of focus. At the same time, we still have to look to get better, too. In the two games against them, we failed to win in regulation. That is not going to cut it.