Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game
Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks that dropped the Leafs’ record to 4-4-2.

On how much this loss stung:

All losses suck.

On the team’s performance in a game in which they led 3-1 at one point:

3-1 is one thing, but the game starts to go away on us in the second period. I thought we had a real good first period. We looked a lot more like what we can look like and what we want to look like.

[The first period] wasn’t a perfect period by any means, but there were a lot of really good signs of life there for us. We were hoping that it would continue through the second. We felt that if it were to continue, we could really break the game open and come alive offensively.

The second period have been a real problem for us here on this trip. It has been a real struggle to get out of our end. When that is the case, you have a lot of tired people on the ice, and it kind of snowballs. You can’t get guys off, and it sort of ruins their legs the rest fo the way.

I thought the second period caused a lot of problems for us, and yet we are in a position to win the game. It is a huge shorthanded goal to start the third. We gave them life back when we had full control.

There are stories within the game for sure, but for me, in the second period, the game could be 4-1 or 5-1 if we continue playing the way we were playing going into the third. Instead, it is within striking distance for them.

Obviously, we let them have life.

On balancing encouraging a player like Mitch Marner to make plays vs. the need to take care of the puck properly:

You just have to know what is going on in the game. Everyone has to be responsible for their touch of the puck. We talked about it with our defense earlier in the trip. All through each game, there are lots of touches and lots of plays. Both are well-intentioned and everything like that. They are just tough plays.

We have to manage those plays better, but we also have to have better support around it so that if things go badly, we are in good spots. On both of those that resulted in goals, guys without the puck off of the turnovers aren’t in a position to help out. There is lots of blame to go around there.

On dealing with the white noise around the team as they return to Toronto:

We are used to dealing with noise. It is not new.

On whether he is concerned about his job security:

I am just going to focus on what I can do here. I have a job to do with the group. Our group has responded in the past. I thought we were responding well today. If you look back to how we started last season, it was a pretty similar game in nature to this one. It is in overtime, we get the win, and it changes things for us.

Obviously, we don’t have that feeling here going home now, but we certainly have lots of reasons to continue to work to get better. We have to get home and get rested. We are going to get some healthy bodies in our lineup soon. Those kinds of things will give us a boost in and of themselves.

On whether he is concerned about his message not getting through to the team:

Listen, we had momentum. We were winning the game, and we were playing a team that is losing. They are going to push. They are going to have that. I am not as concerned about that. I think the effects of the second period, the back-to-back, and all of those kinds of things are factors. That is real.

Again, when you have a game in control, you have to manage it better so that you are not even putting yourself in those spots to begin with.

On the path out of the losing skid:

Just keep playing. There were lots of signs within the game here today. It is such a fine line, right? Any time you get into these overtime games, it can change so much. There is a puck laying on the goal line, and then 15 seconds later, it is in our net. It changes the whole mood and vibe. We can’t get too worked up about the result today. We just have to continue to focus on the process.

An overtime game can go either way, and if you get a win, it changes everything for you. We just have to continue to focus on the things we did well to give us a chance to win the game while continuing to get better at the things that are the reason we gave up the point.