Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators in the second game of the regular season.
On two slow starts in a row:
Today’s start wasn’t remotely in the same category last night’s. In yesterday’s start, we gave up Grade-A scoring chances and odd-man rushes and all of that. I don’t see it that way at all for us in terms of our start. They were outshooting us early on, but I think they had six point shots out of their first seven shots — nothing dangerous.
We gifted them a goal, so we make that big mistake. They got a power-play goal where they wristed one in from the point like we did 50 times tonight. One hits a body and goes in — 2-0 — and then we give them another gift at the end of the period.
I don’t put this in the same category in terms of our start, but it certainly wasn’t the type of period we wanted in terms of gifting them goals. We had a real strong push there towards the end of the first period with lots of chances to score ourselves, and their goaltender was great.
I don’t put this in the same category as yesterday in terms of our start.
On whether there should be concern about falling behind in both games:
I have to watch it back, but like I said, it was two different starts for me. We were giving up point-blank chances yesterday at the start. Today, we didn’t give up anything — point shots, some time in our zone, and we didn’t breakout well. That is a strong forechecking team that is fresh and playing in their home opener. They are going to have a little bit of a push there.
I didn’t feel like we weren’t in the game or anything like that from the start. That wasn’t the case tonight. You guys should watch it back.
On Petr Mrazek’s status:
I don’t have an update at all other than he wasn’t able to finish the game tonight.
On Pierre Engvall’s turnover leading to the first goal:
As we know, Pierre was a star for us last night. It is tough to do on back-to-back nights. It is tough to find that level of consistency in the game. It is a tough play by Pierre there, but there is a lot of game left and you have to be able to bounce back.
I thought we had a lot of guys today that just didn’t have as much gas in the tank as they did yesterday.
On the power play coming to life in the third period:
I thought the biggest thing was that they got some confidence. We won a faceoff on that first power play in the third period. We had the puck. Those guys spent a lot of time in zone. It was a confidence thing. Whatever it was — 1:45 or whatever it was leading up to the first goal — they got some confidence from it and got rolling.
The power play was disrupted a fair bit with having to break out consistently from 200 feet early in the game. You get some confidence going, and it helps. It goes a long way. I thought that was the difference for us there.
On Nick Ritchie’s quiet first two games:
He just has to find his game. He is adjusting. Everyone is adjusting. We played preseason hockey and all that, but this is a different beast. You are finding your way coming from preseason hockey into this hockey, where it is quicker, more competitive, and chances are harder to come by. He has been in the league for a long time. He will figure that out.
On the Engvall and Tavares “hooking” calls:
We have seen the memos on the cross-checks and the guys are well aware of that. They are adjusting to that. But I haven’t seen the memos on not being able to lift guys’ sticks. That is new. I don’t think that is going to be the standard going forward, but it is early in the season for everybody.
On uniting Nylander with Tavares and Marner when chasing the game:
Those guys have had good shifts. We didn’t have a lot happening for us offensively there. I also knew that we were getting low in terms of our energy level. In that second period, we played tired a lot. I thought, in an effort to spark something and get a goal, we would get those guys playing together. I thought they gave us great shifts, and that chemistry carried over to the power play as well.