Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres that dropped the Leafs’ record to 37-17-5 on the season.
On battling the elements and the team’s overall performance:
They took some adjusting to for sure. As the game went on, the weather seemed to settle down. Really, the wind was probably the biggest factor once the snow stopped. Even the wind might have settled down a little bit.
Early in the game, it seemed like in that first period especially, the sense from our players and the feedback was that playing against the wind was tough in the first period.
I thought we had a really good push in the second period. We scored some goals and got some momentum. Their second goal going off of our foot there is a tough bounce for us.
We just didn’t get enough offense after that to make up for it.
On Auston Matthews’ battle with Rasmus Dahlin and his high cross-check late in the game:
I haven’t seen it back yet. Auston is a competitor. He was competing here today like everybody else. I haven’t seen exactly what happened there.
On Petr Mrazek’s performance:
I thought Petr was good. He made some saves today. It is not an easy environment to play in, especially for a goalie. I thought he made saves and was good.
Obviously, the third goal is a tough one for us, but there is nothing he can do on the first one or the second one that we put in our own net off of a funny bounce. On the fourth goal, it is a pass out, the net is off, and all of that kind of stuff.
Some funky goals were happening around him, but I thought he looked solid, all things considered with the environment and everything like that.
On coming up short against bottom-feeding teams of late:
I am not going to read too much into a night like tonight, but certainly, before tonight when we were playing in regular surroundings, it is something that we haven’t been happy with for sure.
We are going to get more than enough opportunities to play against teams that are not in the bottom half of the league. We will read a little more into who we are as a team when that happens.
On the team’s struggles to create offense late in the game:
Nothing was happening very smoothly out there for either team. The puck was kind of a hot potato for a lot of the game. We had a couple of bounces. Shorthanded, we probably had more chances than we had anywhere.
Other than that, Buffalo, as we have come to know from playing against them, does a very good job of protecting the middle of the ice. They defend that area well. On a day like today when it is hard to get inside there, it is challenging. We didn’t get a lot of clean looks, especially in that third period.
Having to kill penalties, we were playing with the wind at the start of the third period there. It was a chance for us, much like the second period, to get our game going a little bit. We ended up having to kill a couple of penalties; plus, we started shorthanded at the beginning of the period there. All of those kinds of things worked against us a little bit there.
We were right there in the hockey game. They find ways to score goals in the period, and we don’t.
On switching up the defense pairs:
We thought that Liljegern had a tough first period. We were monitoring that in the second. On that first goal against there, again, it looked like it did in the first. It looked like he was having a tough day. We thought we would change his assignment a little bit and change the pairs.
On who starts in net on Tuesday night:
We will see. We will talk about it. I am not making too many judgments on our goaltending from today’s game — good or bad. I don’t think it would be fair to do that for anybody.
We will talk about it. We have games coming up here. We will see how Petr got through today from a health standpoint. Playing goal in this environment is probably the hardest. You don’t come back to the bench, where they are pumping heat. You are standing out there in the cold all day.
We will see where he is at. We will make a decision. We will take an off-day tomorrow to kind of get over this, and then we’ll get back to it.