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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 6-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights which dropped the team’s record to 33-17-8.

On the team’s performance:

I loved our start. I thought it was our best start of the season in the first seven or eight minutes. I thought it was better than any start we had on the road. We were really going. Guys were flying. The puck was moving well. Our pace was outstanding. We had great scoring chances and didn’t score. Line changes, shift length — with everything that you wanted at the start of the game, I thought we were tremendous there.

The puck didn’t fall for us, and because it was going so well, I thought we started to overdo it. I thought we got too comfortable in the game. You can’t get comfortable against this team. They are just too good defensively. I thought we got cute with it. It really slowed our game down and allowed them to settle in.

It was a pretty even game from there until we made a mistake. They get the lead. Now, you have to open the game up a bit and chase it a bit.

On whether he can outline the events that led to the late-game ejection:


On whether it was worse than comments he’s made to the refs in the past:

Not going there.

On the level of disappointment about taking a penalty at such a critical stage in the game late in the third:

It is tough. We have momentum on our side. You want to kind of get going and get building. It is a tough day to earn power plays. That is a tough spot in the game there.

Power plays are 4-1 in the game. That is a factor in the game. It is not on the officials. That is part of the way the game goes. It was another thing that didn’t go our way tonight. We didn’t do enough to earn power plays.

On what made it so hard to break through offensively tonight:

They defend extremely well. It is one of — if not the — best defensive teams in the NHL. It is the six D and the goalie who won the Stanley Cup last year.

What worked really well for us out in Vegas is that we played a really simple offensive game. We just worked, got pucks to the inside, and got pucks to the net. I thought we did that well to start the game. We got a little too comfortable with it, and then we started to get slow.

When you get slow, now they get in lanes, they block shots, they get sticks on pucks, and it is way harder to get to the net. It plays into exactly what they want.

When we got to our game later in the second period, by that point, we made some mistakes that ended up in our net.

On the performance of the blue line with six left-handed defensemen:

I thought it was a challenge for us — not so much the lefty part of it, but just the pairings were a bit of a challenge. We have been going with five lefties — two pairs with all lefties — but tonight we were three.

To me, the biggest challenge was on faceoffs. That was where I really felt it the most. If you have two lefties out there, you become a lot more predictable in your exits. On your penalty kill, it is the same thing. Clearing pucks and such was a challenge.

We had been playing with two pairs like that, and we had been getting through it just fine. I don’t think that is the story tonight.

On John Tavares’ game and whether he is still feeling the effects of an injury:

I think he is fine.

On Ilya Samsonov’s comment that he could’ve been better tonight:

I think everyone could’ve been better tonight. They had some pretty high-end chances. In a game as tight as this, you are going to need some saves. I thought he gave them to us, but we gave up too many quality chances.

Going through it, in the actual number of chances, we gave up more in Vegas than tonight at five-on-five, but some of the quality that we gave up tonight is too much.