Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes which dropped the Leafs’ record to 43-20-9.
On the team’s performance:
I thought, in a lot of ways, it might have been the best game of our season.
On the team’s ability to grow into the game after a tough start:
Tough start. You don’t even get going in the game, and you’ve stuck a guy in the face. Before long, you are now killing a 5-on-3. Before most of our guys had even touched the ice, the place is rocking. They are feeling good. We were playing against a very good team here on the road.
I am not sure the exact timing of it — I’ll watch it all back — but four or five shifts before they made it 2-0 even, I really felt our game coming together. We started to really win shifts. We were breaking out well. We were getting on the attack. We were really working.
It was unfortunate that we gave up the second goal. The back half of the first period and pretty much the entire second and third periods is as good as we have played all season.
On Auston Matthews tying a franchise record for shots on goal in a game with 15:
He is right back to being one of the most dominant players in the league — physically dominant, hard on the puck, winning battles, making plays, and getting to good spots. He has been terrific.
On Calle Jarnkrok continuing to produce on the top line:
Jarny has done a really good job and has fit in really well.
I just thought we played a great team game. There were so many things — our line changes, putting pucks to good spots, our puck pressure…
That is a team that we played against that usually really asserts itself and really dominates play. Even when we beat them in Toronto last week, at times, it feels like they’re really pressing and carrying play.
We didn’t get the win today, and there are certainly some things we will take from it and learn from it. But the effort of our guys — the execution of what we were asking them to do — I couldn’t ask for much more there.
On the team giving up the 4-3 goal immediately after tying it:
That is one thing we will certainly take away from this and learn from this. It is a complete breakdown in coverage there for us at a critical point in the game of course. You can’t let that happen, but I am not going to let that spoil the effort.
There are going to be virtually unlimited examples through this game of exactly what we are capable of looking like.
Not many teams come back and put themselves back in the game when down 2-0 early to a team like that. Our guys just stayed with it. I was really pleased with that.
On Matt Murray’s performance:
He has been playing really well. He is under siege early in the game there. I thought he did a good job for us, but of course, it is difficult to win with any sort of regularity if you have to score four. Matt has to find a way to keep one or two of those out. That is just the bottom line.