Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Maple Leafs
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks that dropped the Leafs’ record to 2-2-1 on the season.



On the team’s performance:

I thought we should’ve had a better start in terms of really being able to dictate the play and score first. Really, that was the big thing.

We talked about it this morning: San Jose is playing terrific team defense. They are playing really well as a team. They have lots of confidence. You can tell they’re on their way here and really believing in what they are doing.

To get behind the game is not ideal for us. It took us a while to really find our way towards getting to the net and generating some meaningful scoring chances. There was not a lot to be had out there both ways, really. It was a pretty dull hockey game all the way through, which is exactly what San Jose was looking for.

On the team’s inability to dictate the play from the start:

I thought we had the puck a ton. We had the puck probably twice as much as the opposition tonight, but they make it challenging to get to the net. They were protecting the inside, protecting the middle of the rink a lot.

A lot of what we talked about… There wasn’t anything that happened tonight that we weren’t prepared for or didn’t talk about. We didn’t adjust quickly enough. We didn’t make it hard enough on the goaltender. We didn’t get enough things to the net.

Special teams, or at least our power play, couldn’t be the difference that we needed it to be, especially early in the game. As a result, we are chasing it all the way through.

On the continued power-play struggles for the top unit:

Just not on the same page, fighting it, not executing — a lot of the same stuff we saw last season, to be honest. Not nearly good enough.

On whether Nick Ritchie was guilty of lazy play leading to him sitting for a spell:

It is not an appropriate question. There is nothing about Nick Ritchie’s game that is lazy. He is finding his way.

On whether Ritchie did enough to close down on the Karlsson goal from the blue line:

Again, it is not an appropriate question. It is a turnover. He is trying to hold a lane. Mitch is beat on the inside. The puck goes on the other side. I think we are reaching there.

On why he took Ritchie off the top line:

I think you are looking at it the wrong way. We get scored on. It was more to me that the line wasn’t going today. You should be asking as many questions about Matthews and Marner today as you should be Ritch.

On why the big line was struggling:

It was hard today to get going. It was an issue getting going and getting on the inside. We were trying different things to get things moving.

On whether he will stick with the top line as it is for tomorrow:

I think so. Today, we are trying to get things moving around. I have already watched back parts of video of that line and some of the different shifts. I can just tell by the line of questioning I have been getting over the last number of days that we want to pile on Nick Ritchie here, but let’s not narrow the focus too much.

On the team’s inability to build on momentum after it scored its goals in the game:

The way that those goals went in… The third-period goal is inexcusable. You cannot start a period like that when you are trying to come back. I thought we were in a good spot. We had done some good things in the second period that I thought set us up and gave us good examples of what we needed to do in the third. To then have that be the response to start the game is unacceptable.

On Michael Hutchinson’s game:

There weren’t a lot of scoring chances here today. It was tough to really judge. The two long shots are ones I know he is going to want to have. There wasn’t a lot of action for him. I had them at five scoring chances tonight at even strength. There was not a lot happening around the net.

It is tough on a goalie. As much as it seems like it is an easy night, it is tough on a goaltender when you all of a sudden have to make a save. There was a big chance late in the game that he kept out of the net for us.

There is a lot more going on than just the goaltender here today. We have to score a lot more than we are.