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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes which dropped the team’s record to 38-19-9.

On where the game got away from the team:

On the penalty kill — the 5-on-4, and the 6-on-4. We played a good game tonight — a good enough game to get two points — but weren’t able to get those kills.

On where the issues lie on the PK:

I actually liked a lot of things about our penalty kill tonight. We killed the first seven minutes of penalties tonight. We did a lot of really good things.

We made a mistake with a few seconds left in the second period. Aside from that, our penalty kill was actually the best it has been in quite a while tonight against a very good power play.

The results look bad tonight. They scored the one at 6-on-4, and our best penalty killer was sitting in the penalty box. The other two (Marner and Jarnkrok) are in a suit. That is a tough one to get through, but you have to find a way.

The results look bad, but if we watch it back in terms of the process, there are going to be a lot of good things in there that we will like. We got through seven minutes.

The penalty late in the second and third periods are the types of things you can’t [do]. You can’t take those penalties. That is part of it.

We are looking for progress on special teams. As I said, when we take out the result and the mistakes that led to those two goals, there were a ton of things to like about our PK despite missing two of our better guys.

I would say the same thing about the power play. The results weren’t there and it didn’t go in tonight, but against a team that gives up almost nothing on the PK… It is the best in the NHL or second in terms of percentage, but when you look at time spent in their zone and all of those things, it is the best PK in the league. It didn’t go in, but we generated a fair bit.

To me, there is some progress there that we have to shake through a little bit because of the way the result finished. With all that said, you have to find a way. No matter who is in or out or what the situation is, we have to find a way to close there, especially the 6-on-5.

On Nick Robertson’s instant spark after returning to the lineup:

I don’t know how many games that is now where he has come back in and scored right away. He gives us that sort of boost.

He worked hard tonight. It was a great goal. Terrific effort by John Tavares to lead to it. John’s second period, in particular, was absolutely outstanding tonight. It pushed our team and got our team going. That was a really great period by our captain.

Great spot by Robby to finish it.

On how the new-look lines fared tonight:

I thought we did a good job with it.

There are spots on each line where you are trying to find some chemistry or rely on some of our more experienced guys to bring others along. It was a game that required four lines — or certainly three for sure — and the pace of the play was high. You can’t get too concerned with chasing matchups, especially with how they utilize the Staal line. You have to lean on guys.

I thought we got good efforts from the guys tonight. The result sucks, but I thought we stood in there. At times, we carried play. We scored four goals. We very easily could’ve had three or four more against a team that gives up almost nothing.

There are a lot of encouraging things if we look at it from a process point of view that we really like, but obviously, there are key moments in the game we have to do a better job of.

On Connor Dewar’s performances so far:

I think he is doing a good job.

Tonight, there were some great moments. There was a breakaway shorthanded where he pulled away. It was another key moment in the game. That is one we don’t score on, and they score shortly after.

He is a smart player and a useful guy, especially right now with the penalty killers we have out and the guys who have great defensive acumen. I think he is right there for us. The timing is right — with Mitch and Jarny out — to bring him aboard.