STARS 3, LEAFS 2: WHAT THEY SAID –"They just play a really structured game; they don’t really give you much. They’re a patient team, they wait on their chances. They just all kind of fall inside, they’ve got a good neutral zone and obviously, I think they give up the least amount of chances in the NHL. I think that’s something that you expect, especially if you watch the pre-scout. If you look at all those stats and everything coming into it, it’s tough generate offence and they obviously do a really good job." –AUSTON MATTHEWS.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On what the team learns from playing against Dallas:

I think what we learned is you’re playing against a team that knows how to make it hard on you defensively. You can’t spot them a lead just because you make it even harder. That’s a real tough team to play against when you’re chasing a game. It was the opposite when we were down in Dallas, we played with the lead virtually the whole game, all the way through and they had to open up, so we had lots of chances, lots of good things happening for us. It was a much different hockey game. We spot them the lead here really at the start of every period, spot them goals like, and it’s going to make it real tough.

On his level of concern with the team taking four minor penalties tonight:

Concerned about it. The Marner call, if we were to go back and pull out the video, I think we would could call that penalty 30 times in the game both ways. For some reason, that one was selected. Funny things that happened, I thought we could have been on the power play more than we were, but that’s not the difference in the game.

On Johnsson’s status:

We’ll know more tomorrow, but it’s a knee injury and it’s not going to be short term.

On if the goals against early in periods is a focus issue or the way the game played out:

I think it’s the kind of the way the game went. I thought we started the game pretty well in terms of our ability to have the puck and be in control. We were a little bit casual on the one, don’t get a stick on it and they get in behind us and then it’s in the net. Is it a focus thing? An execution thing? We’ve got to be a lot sharper. We had all the numbers; we were in full control of it. We just need to take care of it.

On how to prevent mixups when the team wants to play fast vs. focus on building up possession:

I think part of it is a symptom of what’s happening in the game. You give a team like them a lead and after that point they’re really not trying to score much. They’re going to be in their structure the entire time. When that’s the case, it’s a real balance. Sometimes you want to go real fast, but you’re going real fast into a wall. So, you want to make sure you’re organized and then you get impatient. To me it’s just a symptom of the way the game goes and it’s going to happen. That’s how they’re trying to play as a team, it’s going to be an issue for us, at times. It’s even harder when a team is going to sit back and play in its structure like they do.

On if he expects to see more defensive play like Dallas as the team gets closer to the postseason:

I think it will depend on who we play. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you flip a switch and do overnight. That team has been committed to it all season, they’re doing that as good or better than anybody in the League. Like I said, it’s a much different hockey game down in Dallas when we get the lead and the game is way different. We spot them a lead here, they’re on the road, that makes it a real hard game. Obviously, I thought Clifford got his fight and the emotion and energy level of the game changed significantly, players responded very well, and we started to come. That didn’t last long enough for us, we didn’t get an even-strength goal. It was a bail bond power play goal we got and then we’re coming, trying to push to start the third and now you’re shorthanded before you know it. They win a faceoff, don’t get an exit and it’s in your net. That’s it. You can’t spot a team like that goals.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (16 SAVES)

On facing Dallas and getting back into game action:

They came pretty hard on those turnovers, but that’s their game. I felt good. I would have liked to come up with a couple of saves early on in those two periods, especially, even in the third. Obviously, would have been nice to come out with a win.

On the challenge of the Stars’ style of play:

They have their structure and they stick to it through the game. Them getting a lead is huge for their style of play and they just try to shut ‘er down and make the best of their opportunities. That’s really what happened today.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL)

On tonight’s loss:

Yeah, they came out really fast. Just a couple of careless plays in both periods and they got behind us there with their speed and their skill and they were able to capitalize. Obviously, that’s an area of concern and something we’d like to clean up because everything is starting to amp up, it’s something that’s extremely important and we’ve been struggling with throughout the year.

On what makes it difficult to score against Dallas:

They just play a really structured game; they don’t really give you much. They’re a patient team, they wait on their chances. They just all kind of fall inside, they’ve got a good neutral zone and obviously, I think they give up the least amount of chances in the NHL. I think that’s something that you expect, especially if you watch the pre-scout. If you look at all those stats and everything coming into it, it’s tough generate offence and they obviously do a really good job.

JAKE MUZZIN (21:10 TOI)

On what the difference in tonight’s game:

They capitalized on a few turnovers and odd man rushes. Once they get the lead, they’re tough to crack. I thought we did a good job of coming back and we had really good spurts, but a few kind of lapses where they capitalized. Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job.

On what the team can take away from playing a team like Dallas:

Yeah, just we’ve got to stay patient, stay with it. We can’t start changing our game plan because we’re getting frustrated or things aren’t working. We’ve got to stick with it and eventually we’ll break through and get our chance.

JOHN TAVARES (1 ASSIST)

On playing against one of the League’s best defensive teams when down a goal:

Yeah, they’re very well structured and don’t mind if it’s a sleepy type of night. They’ve got good depth through all four lines that play extremely hard, very good mobile D that handle pressure really well and have really good sticks whether it’s just closing time and space or closing off shooting lanes. We just tried to stay with it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get it done today.

On if the team got energy from Clifford’s fight in the second period:

Yeah, absolutely, it was a great job by Cliff that provided some good life for us and we got a big goal from Matty. Certainly was a really good spark, got the building into it and we seemed to have a better jump after that.

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