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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings which dropped the team’s record to 21-12-8.

On where the team was lacking tonight:

Not enough offense for us tonight. There were the power plays early in the game. Throughout that, I don’t think we were sharp enough offensively. They defended well.

They didn’t give us… I would say the Domi breakaway was one of the only times when we got behind them in the whole game. I thought they played a pretty simple game that way defensively. As a result, you have to really earn your offense. We weren’t able to get enough going there.

On Ilya Samsonov’s first game back between the pipes:

I thought he battled his ass off. It is the best he has looked all season in terms of how he was tracking the puck. Some of the saves looked like the Sammy we came to know last season.

This is a positive step for him. Obviously, a disappointing result.

On the team’s inability to maintain leads over the past three losses:

In the previous two games, I was very concerned. Tonight… I mean, Morgan Rielly breaks his stick on a one-timer. We gave up three scoring chances in the third period. Two of them ended up in the net. One is off a broken stick.

Tonight, to me, is not about giving up the lead. We talked about how shit happens sometimes. Rielly’s stick breaks. One of their most dangerous offensive players gets a breakaway. That is a tough one.

You don’t like that you can’t get the next goal. To me, it is an offensive piece today.

Late in the game, it is a pretty simple, routine retrieval for the defense. We had all sorts of numbers there. We gave them the puck. That is how they scored on their first goal as well in the second period. Those are pucks on our sticks where we don’t execute on the breakouts. We don’t get much of a chance to defend on those.

The first and third goals are the ones you’d want to have back, but to me, it is a pretty clean third period defensively. They didn’t have much.

Auston kind of hit the post there. Robertson has a really good chance for us in the third. Aside from that, there was not a whole lot there for us. When you don’t score and you just get two, it is hard to win 2-1. You open the opportunity for a tough break like we had on Rielly’s stick there. It gives them a chance on something like that to make the difference.

You have to find a way to get the third and fourth goals.

On what inspired the line changes and how the shakeup worked out:

We are coming off of those two games, and with the nature of the back-to-back, it felt like a good time for some change.

There are a couple of things that I have been wanting to try for some time now — in particular, getting Marner back with Domi since the one game we did it when Auston was sick. That went really well for us. I have been wanting to get back to it, but I just never felt the timing was quite right. To me, today was good timing. With the nature of how our game went for some of our guys yesterday, I felt it was a good time to change some things.

In terms of how it went, I thought Mitch Marner was excellent tonight. I really liked how he and Domi worked together and with Bertuzzi as well. There were a couple of big-time plays with the way they connected on the second goal for us late in the second period. That is a huge goal and a big play. I thought Mitch made several plays — both making a play for others and also generating plays and shots for himself. I liked that.

I thought Auston and Willy had some good chances and had some jump. I am thrilled that Holmberg was able to get a goal with that line.

To that end, I liked those changes. The other lines, I thought, couldn’t get a whole lot happening for them at five-on-five. The special teams really slowed down Knies’ ability to play minutes as well as Robertson and JT a bit, too. Those lines couldn’t quite get going.

In terms of what I wanted to see between Domi and Marner, in particular, I really liked that tonight.

On Conor Timmins’ first game since December 21:

I thought Conor had a game similar to the ones Conor has had for us. He had some of our best offensive looks from the backend — some really good touches — and he had some he would want back.

A couple of our best chances were either generated by him or off of his stick. That is what you like to see from him. It was good for us to be able to get him a game.

On the areas of focus after losing three consecutive:

I don’t put this one with the other two in any way. In the other two, we were fine on offense and built big leads. This was a game today where it looked like two tired teams playing for the most part. It was a pretty sleepy game both ways.

It is one here or there, you know? Willy hit the crossbar in the first on the power play. There was Auston’s one-timer early. If one of those goes in, you start to open it up again and maybe have a chance to have a game similar to the previous two.

This one was different tonight. This was more of an offensive one. We couldn’t get one going.

The losses are something that we have been through before, bounced back, and put together a good stretch. The last one for us started on the road.

Obviously, it is a difficult trip ahead. Some really good teams are playing very well with more travel out west. We just have to dust ourselves off here, travel out tomorrow, and be ready for the trip.

On whether Bobby McMann’s injury is considered serious:

We don’t think so. He is day-to-day. It is something where he probably could’ve gone today, but the nature of the injury is one where if you are not careful, it can become a greater issue. We just felt that with Robertson healthy, it made sense to give McMann the day today.