Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
On the team’s start to the game and overall performance:
We weren’t at the required level. Tampa played at a higher level than us and got rewarded for it.
On the team’s lack of killer instinct tonight:
Tampa was really good tonight.
On why he started his “worst defenseman (Justin Holl)” on the road for shift one (question via Steve Simmons):
Who is our worst defenseman?
… That’s your opinion, I guess.
On why he started the third line:
It was our best line in the last game we played.
On how the team needs to respond after such a tough loss:
We just flush it. We came on the road here. We got our split. When we came out here, it was a best-of-five series with three games in this building and two at home. Now it is a best-of-three with two in our building. It is a successful road trip in that sense.
Whether you lose the game 2-1 or lost it in the manner we did tonight, you wash it and move on. We will be better next time.
On whether discipline was an issue:
For sure, but it was symptom of how we were on our heels today. It was stick penalties and stuff like that.
Spezza got an unfortunate call there. There was a battle going on. It could’ve gone either way. It could have been four-on-four in that case, but the game was already over by the time we started taking penalties.
On where John Tavares’ game is at right now:
He is working. He is trying. It is a tough series out there.
On the discussion with Jack Campbell before removing him from the net:
Just trying to get a sense of where he is at. Obviously, he is battling. I know he is going to continue to battle. We need him to be good for the next game. It is more so a mindset [thing]. I wanted to be sure that he wasn’t feeling like he really wanted to finish the game and put on a good showing or anything like that.
I just made it clear to him that it is obviously a long way to come back. We need him to be good to go for the next game. We ultimately made the decision. I had made the decision a few minutes prior. We already had Kallgren ready to go coming out of the timeout, but I wanted to talk with Jack first.
On his confidence level in the team going into Game 5:
We believe in the team. We have believed in the team all series and all season. We have played well against this team. We responded well the last time coming off of a loss. That is the type of series that it has been. We are going back home. We know we have to be better. We will be.