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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins which dropped the team’s record to 36-19-8.

On whether the flu bug caught up to the team:

I don’t know about the flu necessarily. It is only affecting a couple of guys. The back-to-back makes for an extra challenge. It is tough. It is going to be tough coming into this building. The back-to-back makes it harder. We got to the hotel and got to bed around 3 a.m. last night. It is the hardest back-to-back in those circumstances.

Boston played hard. They played a good game. I liked a lot of things about our game, too. They got the 5-on-3 goal early, and we gave them a gift on the second one. They got another power-play goal that goes in for them. We had our chances to make it 2-2 before they got that power play.

I loved the way we fought back in the second period. I loved a lot of things about our second period. The score wasn’t the way we wanted it to be. Credit Boston for playing a good game again against us, but I liked a lot of things about our game tonight — particularly the competitiveness of our team in what was by far and away the most physical game we have played this season.

If you take the physicality of the game with where we were at with our energy today… While we don’t like the result at all, I liked that our guys stood in there.

On the team’s performances in the two games vs. Boston this week:

I like that we stood in there. The temperature of the game really rose. I don’t like the penalties we took early to get them going. There was a mistake on the officials’ part there. We should’ve been 5-on-4 for four minutes rather than 5-on-3 for two.

We are being aggressive and competitive, but those are penalties you can’t take early in the game, especially. I liked our competitive nature today. I thought we were much better than we were in that regard on home ice.

Given the circumstances of the back-to-back or third game in four nights, getting to bed at 3 a.m., and the challenges we had getting to Boston, the competitive piece is really what I wanted to see tonight. I was happy in that regard.

On William Nylander’s turnover for the breakaway goal against:

I have tried to explain that you can’t go sitting guys for every play that happens. Every play is different. That, to me, is Willy trying to make a play. He is trying to make things happen. He makes a lot of things happen there in different spots, and we celebrate them.

He made a mistake in that part. He overdid it. He should’ve shot the puck or moved it a lot quicker than he did. Those are the types of players that, to me, are well-intentioned.

Of course, we will talk to him as we would anyone else. We cover that area a lot in terms of minimizing risk in there. At that moment, we didn’t do it, and we paid for it. You can’t do that in games like this against teams like this. They are not going to do that to themselves.

Those are the little things that are the difference in the game. There were the two power-play goals and the gift that we gave them.

Aside from that, it is a wrist shot from the blue line. It is pretty routine stuff for the most part. Both teams have a bunch of those in the game. One of them happened to go in.

We have to do a better job on the penalty kill, and we can’t give a gift like that. But it is not one that you sit a guy for. If he does it again, maybe it’s different, but you can’t overthink every single mistake that a player makes, especially those who are trying to make plays.

On moving John Tavares back to the top unit of the power play:

That was our plan going into the game. We played Boston earlier this week. We wanted to give a different look to it.

With John’s dynamic, probably the biggest area that he impacts the power play differently than Bert is his ability to take a faceoff, which then opens up Auston right away in a different position. We wanted to have a bit of a different look today.

On the collision between Brad Marchand and Matthew Knies that injured Knies and forced him out of the game:

I think it is tough guys who are kind of going for the same ice and don’t really see each other. I think their guy realized they were on the tracks quicker than our guy did and prepared for it. I think that’s all I see there.

On where Joel Edmundson could fit on the team:

He is an experienced guy in the league. He can pair with anybody, really, on our team because of the type of game that he plays. I don’t think it is going to change him in any way. He can support any partner. He is going to be there. He is going to defend hard and protect the net.

We could use a guy like him in a game like this tonight with them being as physical as they were. I thought we got pushed around a little bit on the backend to start early in the game, but having a guy like him will help us there. We have some time. We will determine over the remaining games what the right fit and right partner for him is. We will have a plan starting Saturday.