COLUMBUS 4, TORONTO 3 (OT): What the Leafs said.


Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): I’m wondering where you felt that game got away from you guys once you built the lead? 

SHELDON KEEFE: I feel like the game got away from us right from the start. I didn’t like our game in the first period, I didn’t like our game at 1-0, I didn’t like our game at 2-0 and 3-0. We just got what we deserved today. I thought we reverted back to a lot of really bad habits. We didn’t have any real purpose or plan to our game today, we were just making it up as we go along. We get what we deserve. 

Q. (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): How do you explain that after such a great performance in game two? 

SHELDON KEEFE: Tough to explain. That’s part of the deal. It’s why it’s a playoff series and every day is a new day, just like it was after game one, just like it was after game two and just like it is here. We’ve got to put this behind us and get ready to come back tomorrow. 

Q. (Mark Masters, TSN): What are you going to learn about your group over the next 24 hours? What’s it going to take to bounce back from this? 

SHELDON KEEFE: We’re going to learn a great deal, but I think we’ve already learned this. We’ve been through adventures like this with this team before. We’ve always come back with a great performance. Tomorrow will be no different. 

Q. (Justin Cuthbert, Yahoo Sports): Some increased responsibility for Travis Dermott tonight, wondering how you thought he fared in that role? 

SHELDON KEEFE: I thought that as a team we didn’t help our defence as a group and as a group our defence didn’t help themselves. 

Q. (Jonas Siegel, The Athletic): What message will you leave to the group heading into game four on Friday night? 

SHELDON KEEFE: I’ve already talked to the team here today and really just reiterate the things we were talking about the entire game that we weren’t playing with any real plan or purpose and it caught up with us. It’s over now. We’ve got to regroup here, this is what playoff hockey is all about. The emotions, the swings of momentum, it’s the best part of playoffs here, so a chance to regroup and come back at it tomorrow and be a better version of ourselves than we were today is an exciting part for me. We’ll get to work on that. 


Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): I’m just wondering where you think that game started to get away from you guys when you were up 3-0? 

JOHN TAVARES: When they got that goal it just seemed to give them some life and we just didn’t do a lot of the things we did consistently previously in game two, especially wearing them out in their zone. Obviously, they got some life and some jump and started creating some transition opportunities, putting a lot of pucks towards the net. Obviously, when you get a 3-0 lead we have to find a way to close that one out. It is what it is, we have to push forward now and understand what’s in front of us and regroup and have a big one tomorrow. 

Q. (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): Having to come back in less than 21 hours, John, how do you guys bounce back? Is it almost a good thing to have not a lot of time to think about this? 

JOHN TAVARES: It is what it is. Whatever the circumstances are, obviously we understand what’s facing us. We’ve got to regroup and understand the way we’ve got to play and how desperate we’ve got to be. A lot of belief in our group and obviously it’s tomorrow. We’ve got to do the best we can. Recover, fuel up and give everything we’ve got tomorrow. 

Q. (Mark Masters, TSN): Morgan, how do you feel the team handled the absence of Jake Muzzin tonight? 

MORGAN RIELLY: I thought we did a decent job. Obviously, he’s a big part of our team and like I talked about in previous days you can’t really replace him, you can have guys take on more responsibility. I thought we had guys that did that. I thought the penalty kill was pretty good. Obviously, we miss him still but I think it’s important that tomorrow we have guys rise to the occasion more and then game five as well. 


Q. (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): You guys were up 3-0 midway through the second period, how do you explain what happened next? 

MITCH MARNER: I think we had that great penalty kill. I think guys really showed urgency to get in lanes and block shots, a couple of bounces here and there. It went to one of their guys to hit one of their guys back door. I think from that moment on we’ve just got to keep cool, keep going. To start the third, we had a power play there for a minute and a bit, we didn’t generate anything, we gave them all the credit there. That’s something we’ve got to change, we’ve got to get way better at. 

Q. (Kevin McGran, Toronto Star): Nick, not the result you wanted tonight but you scored tonight, a pretty good goal, a lot of people are very happy for you. How did it feel to score your first NHL goal and do you know what you’re going to do with the puck? 

NICK ROBERTSON: [Kasperi Kapanen] made a nice play, turned up at the end of his shift and I just tried to get a shot off. Luckily it went in. Obviously, I was excited, but I’ve got to put that excitement away and we’ve got to finish the period there. Didn’t get the result we wanted so hopefully we can be excited afer tomorrow’s game. 

Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): Given how quickly it is until game four, what sort of things are you saying to each other? What’s the message to move past this? 

MITCH MARNER: Just erase it. We’re a team that’s been bouncing back all year from things that didn’t go our way. We’ve always showed up the next game and played our hearts out. We’ve got to refocus, get ready. It’s quick turnaround. We know that they’re going to want to finish this out. We’ve got to make sure we’re playing smart, playing above. We got away from that tonight and let them get too many odd-man rushes, too flowy for them. It’s something we’ve got to clean up. 

Q. (Mark Masters, TSN): Mitch, obviously the quick turnaround from a gut-wrenching loss. How do you describe the mental toughness of the team? You guys have been through a lot in the last few years’ playoffs, the scars you’ve picked up. How would you describe the mental toughness of the group? 

MITCH MARNER: Like I just said, we’ve shown our resilience when we’ve had tough losses or haven’t played the way we’ve wanted to. Again tonight, we really let those guys have their way on rushes. Too many 3-on-2s, 4-on-2s, Freddie came up big for us many times. I think our forwards and D, we’ve got to talk more and cover each other better and stay above. That’s what that team does. They kill you on your turnovers, we gave them too many tonight and they didn’t miss on their opportunities when they had them.

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