Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs practice
Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning that dropped the Leafs’ record to 18-8-2 on the season.

On the team’s costly turnovers:

You can’t make those kinds of plays and spot them three goals at five on five. Give them the power-play goal, but the five-on-five goals are inexcusable. Those are gifts against a team like that. It is precisely what we talked about before the game started. If you give that team and that goaltender that kind of support, it is going to be tough to climb out of.

I didn’t think we played a terrible game by any means. I thought we worked hard and had our chances. You just can’t give that kind of stuff up. Our decision-making and execution with the puck were very poor. It cost us.

On how the team has measured up over two games against Tampa:

We did okay. I think we have shown we can play with anybody. That is obvious, I think. We were right there. In the last game, we tied it with the goalie out in a tight game. This one here was a tight game all the way through.

Despite the fact that they are missing guys, they play hard. They played the game we thought they would in terms of counterpunching when we made mistakes. We made mistakes and they made us pay.

I think the biggest thing is that their team doesn’t make those kinds of mistakes. They got those mistakes out of their game years ago. They won a couple of Cups since. Our team has to figure out when we want to get rid of those mistakes.

On mixing up the defense pairings:

That is just Dean’s feel for it and how they are going. Obviously, you have Rubins and Liljegren — two young guys — and you are kind of trying to manage working them in. The execution of the other guys — the puck play — wasn’t great, either. All the more reason to try to mix it up and keep guys a little bit fresher, at least; that could help the execution.

On Kase’s fit on the top power-play unit in Spezza and Marner’s absence:

He is a good player; a versatile player. It is a great goal that he scored. He was also great on the entries and bringing the puck up the ice when we needed him to. He did a good job. He is a good player. He is able to plug holes for us when we need him to.

On Kristians Rubins’ performances through two games:

I think he has done a good job at times. I thought there were times today where he looked a little overwhelmed. He is a big guy and got in the way a bunch here today. He is physical. He got some shots to the net.

He has done some good things. He is a guy who has no experience in the league. He has done a good job with what we would expect. He has some work to do to be a guy who is going to play here consistently.

On whether Timothy Liljegren is taking advantage of his opportunities for more minutes:

I think Lily has done a good job here. I don’t know if I would say he is taking advantage. I don’t think he is off and running with it or anything like that, but he has shown us he can play and help us no matter how we have used him or where he has played.

He was another guy today whose execution was just off. I thought with all of our defense, for the most part, their execution was just off with the puck.

Before our injuries and everything, Lily had done a good enough job to stay in the mix and for us to want to keep him playing and sit other people out in order to make that happen. He is earning confidence here.