Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets that dropped the Leafs’ record to 28-12-4 on the season.
On how it will affect the team if it travels to Vancouver, practices, and doesn’t know when the games will be played:
To be honest, I haven’t even spoken to anybody before the game ended in regards to tomorrow or the weekend. I don’t know what, if anything, has transpired since our game has happened. We haven’t even made our plan yet for what we are going to do tomorrow. We are kind of waiting to hear. Our focus was on the game here tonight. We will get ourselves organized later on here.
On where the game got away from the team:
The 5-on-3, our power play in general, and the fact that they win a faceoff on their power play and score immediately — that really was tough on us.
Obviously, we didn’t respond well to that. We just lost structure to their best players — essentially two breakaways, or a 2-on-1 and a breakaway to their best people. Those are freebies — freebies that they didn’t give us, and ultimately is the difference in the game.
Certainly, there was a sag there after our 5-on-3 because we did start pretty good.
On the decision to pull Jack Campbell, and whether it was a message to the team or if he didn’t like what he saw from him early on:
A little bit of both. The team is hanging him out to dry there on the second and third goals. He lets in a tough one on the first one. He doesn’t really get much chance to really gather himself after that. He has to face two of their best shooters in alone shortly after.
We didn’t take care of him there. He has taken care of us a lot this season. I just felt it was best to give him the rest of the night off. Like I said, he has been outstanding for us all season long, and he didn’t deserve that in the first period.
On the level of concern about the power play:
I think it is quite obvious the impact that the power play could’ve had on the game today. It failed to get it done.
On what the team can do if it is a mental issue on the power play:
Usually, a goal for sure. That’s it. You can sense that, even on the bench for the guys that aren’t out there, every shot — every time the puck is in and around the net — the guys are looking for it to fall. The guys that are out there right now are squeezing it and overthinking it.
That’s where we are at. That is what we have done to ourselves here. We have to find our way out of it. There were some positive signs with it tonight, but obviously, it had great opportunities — be it the first period to extend our lead, or the third period to tie the game right off the start of it there. We failed to get it done.
That is our #1 priority right now — to get that sorted out. Having no Matthews and Nylander on that 5-on-3 was a challenge given we haven’t worked on our 5-on-3 much. When we have, those guys are quite prominent on it. We failed to adjust quick enough or well enough in their absence in that key moment.