HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On how tough it was to take Andersen out of the game in the second period:
Not all that tough, really, to be honest. We only have about five seconds to make that decision and just through experience more than anything in that scenario is kind of why I made it pretty quickly. But, before I did, I just told our team I’m not going to let Freddie play behind that. That’s not fair to him. To that point I felt like he already had almost a full game worth of work. We made the change, sometimes you make those changes and it gets your team’s attention. Obviously, we didn’t get their attention in the first intermission like we would have liked to, like we thought that we would have or thought that we did. It didn’t transfer to the ice, so I had to do something such as that to get our team’s attention and to save Freddie from what was happening.
On what he said to Andersen on the bench:
I just told him exactly that. I said I wasn’t going to let them play behind that. I didn’t think it was fair to him, so we needed to make a change. We had no issue with anything that he was doing in the net. Like I said, it’s almost a full game’s worth of work to that point.
On the difference between tonight’s defensive play and Saturday’s defensive play:
Significantly different. Just from the start of the game it didn’t seem like it was going to be our day today. We just — from our touches of the puck to how competitive we were or non-competitive we were on loose puck situations; it just wasn’t to the same level that we’ve had. And, all that said, you’ve got to give some credit to Edmonton. They played really well today. Right from the drop of the puck it was pretty clear that they were here for a reason today. They played at another level, a higher level than we did today, and, I would say, a higher level than any of our opponents we’ve played for quite some time.
On if he felt the third Edmonton goal coming:
I wasn’t really feeling the third goal coming, no. I think you’re still in a little bit of shock and disappointment with what happens on the second goal, to be honest. As I said, we tried to reset the team in the first intermission. Reset the team with the fact that we weren’t playing well and what we weren’t doing well enough and then, also, just sort of instill some confidence in the fact that it’s just with all that incurred, we were still down one and had some great looks. Perhaps could have gotten out of that period with some of our chances that we had — [Tavares] was in point blank there, it could have been even. So try to build some confidence on that fact that if we could just dust ourselves off and play like we’re capable of it would have been okay. That response was disappointing, so it was a little bit of a shock and disappointment there with how that second goal transpired. We just completely lost our structure defensively, which clearly was a focus of ours yesterday and today in terms of maintaining that structure, not opening up the ice like we did for 97. When you open up the ice for him, it’s going to make life easy for him, as it was today.
MICHAEL HUTCHINSON (13 SAVES)
On entering the game in the second period:
I think when you get the call it’s about not being too amped up. Your heartrate goes from resting to all of a sudden, a surge of adrenaline but, as a goalie, you need to be relaxed. So it’s just one of those things with experience you maybe try to calm yourself down a bit, take a few deep breaths and come in and just try to get moving right off the start to try and loosen up. There are things I try to do in-between periods every single game to stay loose and ready because sitting on the bench for long periods of time is tough if you do happen to go in, it doesn’t happen often, but when it does you have to be ready.
AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL)
On tonight’s start:
I don’t think we really came out too strong and they really dictated the play the first 10 minutes and it was back in our heels. Not fun, that’s for sure.
On the team’s reaction to Andersen being taken out of the game:
I think it’s more of a wakeup call for the players on the ice and in the game. There’s nothing — we just kind of left Freddie out to dry there. I think for a guy like him who does so much for us night-in, night-out for us every night, the opportunities and chances that we were giving them, it’s really not fair to him to just leave him out to dry like that. It’s definitely not on Freddie at all, we were just giving away too many clean and clean opportunities.
On Connor McDavid’s performance:
We just gave him way too much space. He’s the most dangerous player in the world for a reason so if you just let him fly through the neutral zone with the speed and skill that he has, he’s going to make us pay. That’s what he did tonight.
MORGAN RIELLY (24:08 TOI)
On the challenges of playing against Connor McDavid:
Yeah, obviously good player, but it’s more than that. It’s a team game so obviously, a tough loss but we’ve been going good for a while now, so we’ll regroup tomorrow and get back at it.
On the goaltending change in the second period:
Well, the first couple goals aren’t on Freddie, I think everyone knows that. I think when you do that, that’s the idea – to try and provide a spark and I think it did for a little bit, but obviously as players we’ve got to respond more and respond better and obviously do a better job for Freddie off the start.
JOHN TAVARES (19:34 TOI)
On tonight’s performance:
We just seemed flat early, they got a lot of energy from it and got some early looks, obviously built up a lead. We gave ourselves a chance, we just didn’t do a good enough job defending and playing with the puck, keeping possession and being able to break them down.
On what the team can learn from tonight:
Yeah, just got to execute better. For whatever reason there are going to be nights maybe you don’t feel it as well as you do other nights. We’ve got to find a way to turn momentum when we get off to the start that we did. Just be better than that. So, yeah, just disappointing, I think. We’ve been playing some good hockey and doing good things, so to have one like tonight is frustrating and so back to work tomorrow and a great opportunity on Wednesday to get back on the right side of it.