Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 7-2 loss to the New York Islanders which dropped the Leafs’ record to 42-19-9.
On where the game got away from the team in the middle frame:
I thought we had a good second period, but we made some mistakes, obviously. We had some trouble breaking out. The puck got into our net.
Through two periods, I thought we were playing fine. Honestly, the issue through two periods and the whole game is that you don’t get enough offense. To me, as much as you give up six tonight, to me, it is the offensive piece that I am a little more concerned with.
We didn’t generate enough. We had some really good looks that their goalie made good saves on, but consistently, we didn’t challenge enough to the inside. If you are playing against this team, if you don’t do that, you are going to have a night like this.
On the team’s third period:
I thought we had a good start. It was a great shift by Kampf’s line. They handed off to Matthews and Marner coming out there, and those guys make a play. All of a sudden, you are right there.
We make another mistake, and from then on, it was tough sledding for us in terms of the engagement in the game. I thought we were pretty dejected after that one. That was disappointing and unfortunate.
To me, with the exception of a couple of mistakes we want to get back where we don’t get the puck out of our end, I don’t have a lot of problems with our game other than the offensive piece. You need to be able to generate more on the inside against this team. Otherwise, you are not scoring on that guy.
On the team’s inability to get to the inside on offense and whether fatigue played a role:
I don’t think it is fatigue. We had the puck a lot tonight in the offensive zone. That was not an issue. I thought, at times, we were just overpassing and trying to create the perfect shot. That is not how you score on this guy. We needed to get more action.
I thought that could wear them down a little bit more. We were unable to do that. Offensively, I thought we left a lot on the table today. Credit to the Islanders. It was very evident the game was very important to them. They are fighting for their playoff lives, trying to stay in their spot, and all of that. That was evident tonight.
We didn’t do enough to take advantage. We didn’t give up very much through two periods. The mistakes that we made, they made count, and the mistakes that they made, we didn’t make them pay for it, for the most part.
On William Nylander’s performance:
I thought Willy was really skating today. He didn’t get to the net much, which not many guys did, but I thought he carried the puck well. He transported it well. He looked a lot like the guy we had seen all season.
On whether the giveaway issue is going to be one to work on in practice:
Those are plays we usually make.
Obviously, Liljegren just whiffed on one. I don’t know if you are going to practice that. It is a play that you need to make and he will make. Mitch, right after scoring, gives it back. Again, it is the type of play Mitch is going to make more often than not.
I don’t think it was necessarily practice related. It was just the execution piece. Under pressure, you have to be able to make plays in those moments.
On whether it is a game for Ilya Samsonov to flush given what is going on with his wife expecting a baby:
He has a lot going on right now, obviously. All he has to focus on is getting home and being with his wife. This is a very important and special time for him and his family. He needs to get back.
We are obviously heading south. It is important to get him home and allow him to take care of things there. We will press on. Joe Woll will join us.
Sammy is going to practice with us before leaving tomorrow, but Joe and Matt Murray will take it for the rest of the trip.
On whether it is a game for the team to flush in general:
I think that is what we have to do. Through two periods, there was a lot to like about our game. We didn’t necessarily deserve to be down 3-1 after two periods. There are still a lot of good things that happened today.
Obviously, in the third period, we didn’t like how we handled that, but our team has been through a lot and have won some big games against some good teams of late. We won’t overthink this one.