Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that ended the Leafs’ winning streak at five games and dropped the team’s record to 12-6-1 on the season.
On whether the team’s performance was as hungry as Pittsburgh’s:
I think our guys wanted it just as bad. I thought we lost to a good team that was better than us.
On the commonalities between the 7-1 loss and this game:
Just how hard the play. I think that is it. As much as the game itself is different, if you look at the goals that they scored, they are very similar in nature to what we gave up. Handling their speed coming through the neutral zone was a problem there. It was a problem for us again here tonight.
They defend real hard and make it tough on you. We got what we deserved in terms of our offense because we just didn’t make enough happen offensively.
On the power play’s struggles, including a squandered 5-on-3 in the third period:
Just like how we lost to a good team, we lost to a good penalty kill. They were just flat out better than us.
On why he didn’t switch the lines up much:
A couple of times, we made subtle changes, but it didn’t feel to me that the lines were an issue. The Pittsburgh Penguins were an issue. I can’t control that. We had to play through difficult circumstances and find ways to get to the net. We just weren’t able to do that today.
We made two mistakes that cost us in the first period. We allowed them to score first and take control of the game. It was uphill from there.
On whether there is concern about the quantity of 5v5 offense the team is generating:
Concern is not the right word. Like I said, we have been finding ways to win a lot of games. But it is top of mind for sure. We talk about it a lot — not just tonight, but coming in to today. We have to find ways to generate a whole lot more and make good on the chances that we do get.
We had a lot today, but when you look at a lot of the other nights where we haven’t scored, there are a number of looks there that you would expect to go in and don’t. Nights like tonight, it is really hard to get offense. You are looking for ways that you can make that happen. It is something we are certainly aware of.
On Michael Bunting’s ability to draw penalties:
It is absolutely a skill. It is a competitive thing. You first of all have to get yourself into spots that are contentious, and then you have to keep your feet moving and skate out of traffic. You have to skate in tough spots.
It is a skill and one that is not easily transferrable to others. That is why you don’t see a lot of guys that have the ability to do that. It is something that is important and it is something he brings to our team. He did an excellent job of that for us today. That line has done an excellent job.
We do have a tough road trip ahead. This one here certainly gets everyone’s attention.