HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On what he liked from tonight’s performance:
I liked that our guys competed. I thought we stayed in the game all the way through it. At times when they had their push, I thought we withstood it fine and then had pushes of our own. After that, obviously I really liked how our penalty kill dug in in the third period and found its way through a tough task. We were set up pretty well after that getting a power play thereafter. Of course, I don’t like how that one finished. All in all, I liked the fight in our team. We just have to find ways to generate more offence.
On Johnsson’s status:
The only update is just that he was too sore to return. It’s not looking like anything serious at this point, but we’d love to get some pictures and stuff like that.
On if the decision to shuffle the lines was to spark offence:
That’s part of it, but also, as you say, losing Johnsson, it does change things quite a bit. We’re trying to get a spark and trying to score and trying to move things around, but I do intend on moving things around a little bit with those top guys, in particular, but probably not as much as I had to there in the third.
On Spezza taking blame for the loss after a miscue on the power play:
It’s a tough play. I’m sure he’d like to have that one back, but things happen on the ice and it’s unfortunate how that one worked out. I don’t think there’s any ill-intent there at all for us.
On the way the penalty kill rebounded in the third period:
Obviously, the first one, the goal went in in a hurry on us the first time. The confidence is — you’re not quite there when you’re going in and have to kill a double minor, but the guys did a terrific job all the way through it. I thought it was a big moment in the game, it gave us momentum, I thought, with the power play soon thereafter. We couldn’t get anything really established, had the puck on the power play there and we shot and missed the net and didn’t get things going really from there. Worst case scenario when it went in our net at the end.
On if he’s worried about a long road trip without extra skaters available:
I’m not concerned about the extra bodies; we’ll manage that if we need to. We’ll have enough guys to get through.
On why the team doesn’t draw many penalties:
It’s a good question, it’s one I’ve been asking. It’s not the first time for this team. I think last season there were long stretches of a very similar situation, so we’ve got to figure that out. The natural thing for me is to say we’ve got to get the puck to more dangerous areas and we’ve got to attack the middle of the ice a lot more. We do have to skate a little bit harder and be a little more competitive to fight through situations and things like that to perhaps cause infractions. It is a concern and something we have to look at and go back to last season to look at what the situations might be and see what we can do a little bit differently to hopefully generate something. Now, we don’t take a lot of penalties either. I think that in itself creates a situation where you’re not going to get a lot. We certainly want to generate more than we are.
On the sense of urgency within the team:
I think it’s high and I think our play reflected that. That’s a very good team, a rested team, sitting here waiting for us. We’ve been watching them. We played them not too long ago ourselves, but just watching them in the pre-scouts, they’re feeling pretty good about themselves and scoring a lot. It was a real challenge for us defensively today. I thought the urgency was fine and I think some of the adjustments we’ve been working at and focusing on defensively have been there for us, today in particular. At times not so much yesterday, but today I thought we withstood a pretty potent offence and that top line, for the most part. While our attention has gone there, we’ve gotten away from some of the things offensively we focused on in the early going and that has caused us to revert back to some things we don’t necessarily like. We’ll have to try to fix that.
On if Hutchinson will play on the upcoming road trip to give Andersen a night off:
Yeah, that’s something we’ve talked about. When Freddie was pushing us to play here and compete with his teammates, we sort of said that would probably be one of the things that we’ll have to make an adjustment on and get Hutch a game on the road here. I’m not sure exactly which one, but we would intend on doing that.
On the defensive pairings:
We just thought that given the back-to-back and given the challenge of the game today and the way that things went yesterday for us, we just thought a change would be good. We changed not just the pairs but the matchups to just try and get guys different looks, just spread it out a little more and manage minutes a little better. We were just trying some different things.
On Muzzin and Holl matching up against Colorado’s top line:
We wanted to see what it would look like and the challenge was great for them today so we did want to see what it would look like. We think Holl has really been making great progress, not just in his defending but also he’s using his feet and his skating to move the puck up the ice, which is a big part of playing against the other teams’ best players and then Muzzin has done that a great deal over his career and in his time here. We wanted to give that a look today and for the most part we liked it. We’ll have to look a little closer to see how everything else worked out.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (27 SAVES)
On why he wanted to play tonight’s game:
The way the guys got called out after last game, I figured I wanted to be out there battling with them. That’s why I asked to play.
On the way the team performed tonight:
I think we responded well. We played well; they just found a way to get the win on special teams. It’s a good team and I thought we played well, especially 5-on-5.
On the challenge of fatigue playing both games in a back-to-back:
Obviously, you’re going try to get some rest to get up for the second game. I thought I felt pretty good and just unfortunate I couldn’t get the win.
MITCH MARNER (22:53 TOI)
On how he felt in his first game back from injury:
It was good, it felt nice to be back with the guys and back on the ice with them. Not the outcome we wanted, but I thought we competed well tonight.
On his conditioning level:
There weren’t many times out there that I felt like I was out of breath or felt like I couldn’t go right away again. I really just focused on trying to keep my conditioning up and making sure I was ready when I came back and felt that I was tonight.
MORGAN RIELLY (25:41)
On his takeaways from tonight’s game:
I thought we worked hard. I’d have to go back and watch it, but I thought we battled for a back-to-back. I thought we wanted to play better after what we did last night, so I thought we did that. Obviously, not the outcome we wanted, but we’ll move forward.
On his play with Spezza that led to the game-winning goal:
I’d have to watch it again. I know he broke a stick and I think he tried to play it with his feet. Not sure.
JASON SPEZZA (8:27 TOI)
On the play that led to Colorado’s winner:
Obviously, a tough play. I’m coming downhill, I got a good look at the net, stick breaks, I’m going to the bench and then I hear somebody yell the puck is coming, so I make a split second decision to play it and [Rielly] yells that he’s there. I kind of just froze to try to not get in his way and, in turn, got in his way more. That game falls on me now. I thought we were playing good up to that point.
On moving past that play going forward:
Yeah, we made a push after that, but it’s frustrating now. You work to get — we don’t have many power plays; you work to get that power play. You want to score the goal, not give up a shorthanded goal. A game of inches and split-second decisions. I made the wrong one tonight there and it cost us.
JOHN TAVARES (9 SHOT ATTEMPTS)
On tonight’s effort:
I thought overall we competed extremely hard and gave ourselves a chance to win. We obviously just weren’t able to get a couple behind him. We had a lot of good looks in the third and unfortunately, we gave the one up that put us behind. Just have to stay with it and the effort tonight and the way we responded was a real positive. We’ve got to bounce back and get some results heading into this weekend and then a road trip out west.
On Andersen wanting to play the second game in the back-to-back:
He’s a real leader for us and he’s one of the best in the league, so no question his determination, his confidence, he sets a real tone for us and the backbone of our group. He played great, he gave us a great chance to win, it’s too bad we didn’t reward him.