Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings that ended the Leafs’ winning streak at five and dropped their record to 7-5-1 on the season.
On his team’s performance coming off of an impressive win over Boston, and whether it was a case of LA bringing its best stuff:
It is a good [LA] team for sure, but I am talking about us, and what I attribute it to… That is what we are trying to get out of — a team that doesn’t play great one night, has lots of urgency and plays with the recipe to win consistently, and then comes out the very next game and isn’t the same group and doesn’t have the same level of urgency against a different opponent. Until we get that sorted out, we are going to continue to ride this wave. It is not good enough.
On how the Tavares line fared in the matchup against Danault:
I am sure you are referring to the goals, likely? I mean, the two goals are pretty much carbon copies. We got beat off the wall and were exposed at the net. That is two errors defensively. Those are two instances where we have to be a whole lot better. I didn’t think that line gave up a whole lot else other than those instances.
If you give that team a lead, with the structure they play with and the centers that they’ve got, they’re going to work defensively and make it hard to get to the net. It is a tough road. That is a lot of what happened at five-on-five tonight.
On whether it was a perplexing performance to end the winning streak:
I am perplexed about the start. I thought we did some good things in the second and the third. We took over the game in a lot of ways, I felt. We had a lot of chances. We were all around the goaltender. We deserved more than we got — we didn’t get anything at five-on-five today in terms of goals, but I thought we had more than enough chances to get those. It didn’t go our way.
What I am perplexed about is just the start — why we can’t come out, assert ourselves, have urgency, have pace. We just let people fly through the neutral zone and get to our net. That is not good enough.
The opposition doesn’t give us that. We don’t get free passes to fly through the neutral zone and go in alone on the goaltender. We don’t get those looks to start games. We have to earn those looks. We can’t give that stuff up.
On the lack of penalties in the game:
It’s part of it. It’s going to happen. You have to work for your calls. You have to compete for calls. We’ve got to dig in and fight to get to the inside.
It is a team that makes it hard on you that way. They play with structure. They have numbers. They are going to defend the middle of the ice very well. They are going to do it even more when they have a lead.
We played right into their hands tonight.
On Jack Campbell’s performance:
He is part of spotting the 2-0 lead early on, but it was guys in alone coming in on him. That is a tough ask for a goaltender. He has bailed us out a lot, so we have come to expect him to have the ability to save those. I am sure he has the expectation of himself to stop them. But he has five guys playing in front of him that have to help him out on a night like this.