Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 8-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning that dropped the Leafs’ record to 51-21-6 on the season.
On how he digests a loss like this:
You get a little sample of how hard you need to play and how well you need to play to beat a team of that quality when they are playing at that level.
On whether he liked anything about the team’s performance in the second and third periods:
Not really, no.
On whether a loss like this is more concerning knowing it could be the team’s first-round playoff opponent:
The last time we were in here, we know how the game went. You saw how their team responded. To me, it was clear that the game meant more to them tonight than it meant to us. It showed in how they played and how they competed. That is what happens when that is the case.
On whether it is a challenge to get up for games when the team’s playoff seeding is “pretty much” locked in:
We are not locked into our seed at all. We are not “pretty much.” We are not comfortable in that regard at all. It is still very much a competition, so there is that.
The game was pretty similar when we were in here last time. It got a little further away on us tonight than when we were there, but it is a similar nature, right? 31 minutes into the game, it is 1-0.
We found our game in the first period. We gave up some 2-on-1s in the first period, but otherwise, I thought it was our best period. We really found our game. I thought we responded well to the pace of the play and the physicality there.
At the start of the second period, we got on our heels a little bit. They got one where they tipped one in the net. For another eight minutes or so, there is not a lot happening other than them building momentum and wearing us down. They get a second one, and then special teams become a big factor.
It is just a good example of a close game where one team pulls away, gets momentum, and it is hard to get it back. The nature of the game is pretty similar to the way it was the last time around. It obviously went their way this time. They deserved it.
On whether there was any temptation to make a goalie change:
There was no chance I was putting Campbell in that game.
On the tough night for Erik Kallgren and challenge for him to bounce back from it:
He will be fine. He was excellent in the first period. The reality is that they had better chances in the first period than they did in the second and third if you really look at it. They had clear 2-on-1s and clear shots from some of their best players in the first. He stood his ground. I thought he was excellent in that regard.
It is a backdoor tap-in, two deflections, power-play goals… Those are tough on him there, and it gets away a little bit. He should watch that first period over and over again. Those are some of the best shooters in the world, and he stood his ground. I thought he was excellent.