Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks which dropped the Leafs’ record to 38-17-8.
On where it went wrong on the third-period power play with two shorthanded goals against:
Poor execution. There are elite forwards on the other side who capitalized.
On whether he was tempted to make a change on the power play after the first shorthanded goal:
We were 15 seconds into a power play in a one-goal hockey game. We have a power play that just tied the game for us. I wasn’t tempted at all.
On where it got away from the top unit of the power play:
You’re torn. You come out for the third period, and the power play scored you a huge goal in the game. Obviously, it lets you down the next time out. You are torn on that one. You do want to see the power play come through in those moments, and it did on the first one.
We had a chance to really take hold of the game, and we failed to execute on that. In that case, their best players were better than ours there.
You’re torn on it because they did score us a big goal.
On Ryan O’Reilly’s status after taking a puck to the hand:
He was unable to return. It is serious enough that this was the case. In terms of a timeline, we will have an update for you on Monday.
On putting the goalie back in after the initial pull:
We are short a lot of forwards and a lot of bodies. Our guys that were on the ice were at the end of their tank. John had already changed. We thought we would go with a five-on-five shift after that. It was just a matter of managing the energy of the bench.
On why he flipped Alex Kerfoot onto the top line in place of Michael Bunting:
I just think Kerf has been playing better than Bunts. That is really it. Kerf was outstanding. It was maybe his best game of the season the other night. We were trying to change that up a little bit, change that group a little bit there, and get a little bit more from them.
On Morgan Rielly’s play of late:
I liked his game the other night. He didn’t score the game-winning goal, but it was his initiative to jump into the rush the way he did in Calgary. That was the difference in helping us win that game. I thought he had some good moments there.
I think he has more to give. He can play better. A lot of our guys can.
This is a similar game that we have played in these types of scenarios with teams out of the playoffs that aren’t in the mix. We dominate the first period, and we don’t score on the chances. You let a team hang around and give them life and energy. You give them hope.
Our inability to capitalize and score — we missed a breakaway, smashed one off a post, and hit a crossbar at 1-1 — lets the team hang around and lets the game go the way that it did.
On Matt Murray’s performance:
His numbers aren’t going to look good coming out of this one, but I thought he was excellent. There weren’t very many easy shots that he faced tonight.
In the first period, there was nothing there for him, which maybe allowed him to ease into the game. In the second and third, any looks he had to face were high-end chances. I thought he looked really solid.
On going down to 10 forwards down the stretch of the game:
Yeah, it was a challenge for sure with the energy there. We lost Auston at the start of the second period, and when he came back, he is not at 100% in terms of his skating and stuff. You are shorthanded for sure. It becomes harder to manage.
We were close to bringing a defenseman back up front. Certainly, it’s not ideal when you are 11/7 and you end up losing two different forwards at two different times.
Again, at the same time, it is strange how it works. We didn’t have McCabe for the first period. Having the six other D helped in that case. I guess there is a give-and-take with everything.