Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers that dropped the Leafs’ record to 51-21-7 on the season.
On the team’s response coming off of the 8-1 loss to the Lightning on Thursday:
I thought our guys played hard tonight and very easily could have won the game. I thought we won the first and third periods, especially. They won the second period — not just in the scoring, but they also carried play and stuff like that.
In the first and third periods, we had tons of opportunities. Against this team, though, you have to score more than two. It is really tough to win when you only get two against them. We had more than enough looks to have four or five.
If you don’t make them count and that team hangs around, it is what they have been doing all season: they find ways to win.
On what he learned about the team in the last two games:
That is three games against this team now and they haven’t beaten us in regulation. In all three, we could have been on the other side of it. We will take that for what it is.
I thought our guys played really hard today. That is not an easy team to play against or an easy game to play. There is a lot of pace. We lost a guy early in the game, so our bench is taxed and our lines were mixed up. It is a tough night for our guys that way, especially on forward.
I thought we did more than enough things to win the game tonight.
On Auston Matthews’ first game back:
He was great. He had some looks. We needed one of those to fall. I am sure he wanted one to fall. I don’t know how many shots or attempts he ended up with today, but he was really good.
He played head-to-head against Barkov a lot of the night. I thought, for a lot of the night, they won the matchup. It was good to see.
On the team’s defensive effort that kept Florida to two goals in regulation:
Our guys killed plays a lot, filled the middle of the rink a lot, and maintained body positioning in the middle of the ice a lot. It was not perfect. It is tough to be perfect against that team. They really stress you.
There were not many shifts off. They just keep coming. All three lines that they use mainly come with a lot of pace, skill, and speed. Our guys just stuck with it.
At times, we were sloppy with the puck mainly because of the pressure they applied. It is tough to execute, especially when you are tired on your shift. I thought our guys defended well.
When we made mistakes, Jack was really good.
On Jack Campbell’s stellar play of late:
He looks like he is back to playing the way that he was early in the season. He is rolling really well. It has been great to see.
We managed his workload a little bit this week. We didn’t play him in Tampa. I thought we got rewarded for that today.
On William Nylander’s play in Michael Bunting’s place on the Matthews line:
I thought he was good. Those guys haven’t played together a lot other than the odd shift here and there. It is probably the most they have played together consistently. We got a look at that tonight.
I thought those guys were good. They had the puck a lot. They played on their half of the ice a lot.
On whether Campbell will be given more nights off in the final week:
We will see. Obviously, he is not going to play tomorrow night, and we will see from there. We will talk to Jack and the medical team in terms of how he is doing. Really, he has been doing very well. Anything that was bugging him before seems to have passed.
We will talk about it. It is a balance now, right? You want to keep Jack rested and healthy. At the same time, a goalie wants his reps, to touch the puck, and be in the net. I think we have managed it pretty well to this point.
If we decide to play him next week — we will definitely have a discussion — we would feel good about it. I think he is not going to want to have too long off before you start playing for real.
On Michael Bunting’s status after leaving the game:
I don’t know. He is going to miss some time for sure. I don’t know how much.