Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens that dropped the Leafs’ record to 33-13-6 on the season.
On Nick Foligno’s status after he left the game injured late in the second period:
I don’t have any word on him, no. We will have to see. We have a day off tomorrow, so we will have to see how it settles down. We’ll know more on the next practice day.
On where the game got away from the team tonight:
I thought we played a good game at five-on-five. We found a way to get two goals at five-on-five and didn’t give up any. Obviously, special teams are the big difference in the game. Our penalty kill and power play, 5-on-6, 3-on-3 — those situations cost us today.
Ultimately, in terms of the game, it is just missed opportunities. We had a number of opportunities in that first period to score a lot more than we did. We failed to do so. We had a couple of chances later in the game. We even had the puck on our stick on their side of the ice with the goalie out, and that doesn’t go for us either. Little things like that didn’t go for us today. That is why the result is what it is.
Special teams aside, I liked a lot of things about our game. It was very evident, the amount of special teams that was in today’s game. There hadn’t been much in previous games or recent games we have been playing. Not having Justin Holl, Zach Hyman, and losing Nick Foligno today, in the penalty-killing situations and the 5-on-6, you really noticed it.
On how the versatility of the players available to him allows him to switch up the lines:
With the experience and the skill sets of the players that we have, it gives us the ability to do that. You don’t like to do it too much, especially in a game when you are looking to take care of a lead or control the game. You aren’t really wanting to bounce things around too much. Frankly, the bench felt real short towards the end of that game, and it maybe caught up to us.
But we have a lot of players that have played in different spots with different people. That allows the group to just press on and keep playing.
On how Auston Matthews has set the tone for the group with his work ethic:
That was something that was really evident right from the start of training camp and right through the season — his commitment to winning pucks back, defending, and recognizing that adding that element consistently in his game results in him and his linemates getting the puck that much more, which gives him that much more opportunity to produce offense.
I think he is just understanding that. Really, last season, it started to click for him, that connection and his ability to dominate the game in more ways than just scoring goals.
On Rasmus Sandin’s looks on the top unit of the power play:
He looked comfortable there. There was the one where we gave up the big chance against — they got the great shorthanded look — but he looked comfortable, moved the puck well, and moved it with poise.
Obviously, the power play wasn’t near good enough today. We didn’t get a goal there today. A goal on the power play would’ve put the game well in hand. We failed to do that. It would be hard to say anything was very good on the power play.
On Timothy Liljegren’s performance:
I thought he was okay. He had some really good moments in the game. We gave up a lot of opportunity here today, especially on that penalty kill. In the first 21 minutes or so of the game, we had taken three penalties. It was not a good night not to have Justin Holl. That puts a lot on Liljegren.
We wanted to give him that opportunity today. That opportunity will serve him well, but I think it showed that it was maybe a little bit too much too soon for him. This is why we put them in these situations. They will be better for it down the line.