Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens that dropped the Leafs’ record to 40-19-5 on the season.
On the team’s performance:
I thought we played really well. I’d take that game 82 times.
On whether it was a case of running into a hot goalie (51 shots on goal):
Not all of the shots we took were of high quality. There is a lot of perimeter stuff there, but we had more than enough chances to score more than we did. We didn’t make good on some of our stuff around the net. We didn’t get much luck. There were pucks that the goalie found through traffic really well — and some tips and things like that.
When you get that many at him, normally, one of those finds a way in for you. It didn’t happen for us tonight. We didn’t score enough to pull away in the game. We let them hang around. We made a couple of mistakes, and they made good on it.
Like I said, I take that game 82 times from our team.
On William Nylander mentioning his missed backcheck on the David Savard goal:
It is tough. Defensively, I don’t know if we can play much better than that in terms of how we controlled play, how we controlled the neutral zone. There was not a whole lot happening.
That is a tough one to give up, but to me, that was the third or fourth play like that for Will. That is why I thought it was time. Obviously, things have been piling up for that line for a while. It was overdue.
On whether he is satisfied with Nylander’s play over the last month:
No, not close.
On where Nylander needs to improve:
I am not even going to answer the questions. I am not going to pile on Will here. He knows what makes him great. He knows what he needs to get back to.
On Erik Kallgren mentioning he wasn’t happy with his performance and how tough of a game it was for him to play in:
It is tough. That is part of the other side of it, right? When you are getting a ton of shots and things going towards the other team’s goalie and they are not going in for you — and you are not making good on the chances you do get — he starts to really get into a rhythm and feel good.
On the other side, we didn’t give up much of anything, and when we did, it was high-end stuff. On the winning goal, there is a lot happening on that play. It is not just as simple as him squaring to the shooter and making a save. He has to think about the other passing options. That impacts his ability to make the save.
It is a tough game to play for a goaltender — tough in the sense that you have to be sharp when the chances come, but obviously, our guys did more than enough to protect the goalies today.
On the turnover leading to the game-winning goal:
Matty is trying to put it to the bottom if you watch it. He is trying to cycle it down. He fans on it. I am not sure if they kind of twisted his arm a little bit and it impacted the play. He got clipped from behind and fell down. It resulted in a 3-on-1 the other way.
If you could do it over, you’d want Matty to get it to the bottom. I think Morgan is reading that it is going to the bottom, so he jumps down and leaves the blue line.
I don’t know. They clipped the back of our skate and we fell down. It is a 3-on-1 the other way. I don’t know. I think there is an infraction in there.
On whether Mark Giordano has come as advertised:
Obviously, the expectation is very high. He is a very accomplished player. But he has been great.
Today, on the bench, you could even hear some of the players talking amongst themselves about some of the subtle plays he is making offensively and defensively, especially on our half of the ice breaking up plays, moving the puck up the ice, and just the poise. He has been really good.
On Ilya Mikheyev’s increased shot rate of late:
Speed. He always has that speed. He brings the puck into the zone. I think he did one where he brought it right across the crease. He has been doing that more frequently.
When he does that instead of settling for the shot on the perimeter, it is a lot more dangerous for him. He was on top of the puck today and was really skating. I thought it was easier for me to make the switch of the lines and get him up there with John.
Once we did that, I thought we got some better shifts offensively from John’s line and also from Kampf’s line. I thought Willy was a lot better when he was down there, too.