Sens 5, Leafs 3 quotes: “I just sensed that we had stopped playing.” — Sheldon Keefe.

SHELDON KEEFE

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: What did you sense and see from the group after that 2-1 goal in the second? 

Sheldon Keefe: I just sensed that we had stopped playing. We lost three or four shifts in a row coming off of that goal. As soon as we scored the goal the message on the bench was that we need to keep pushing. The reality is when you score a goal like that and you had control of the period the way that we did scoring that goal, for us, if we want to be a team that’s going to accomplish anything, the game should be over from there. We should be able to take care of the lead and then build on the lead. Obviously, we showed that we’re not there yet. 

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: What sort of adjustment period is a guy like TJ Brodie facing coming into a new team? A big, prominent role and without the preseason games he usually would have. 

Sheldon Keefe: I think all the new guys are adjusting to the system, to the new teammates, all those kind of things. It’s going to take time. I think TJ really has been fine for us. I thought he was a standout for us in the Montreal game. Nobody really was a standout for us here today, obviously, but Brodes has been fun. He plays the kind of game where you’ve got to watch it back on video and really focus on what he’s doing to really see the value in it. 

Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: How do you stress to the guys that there has to be more determination in bearing down in the defensive zone? 

Sheldon Keefe: We’ve just got to keep doing it. That’s been our message from day one. Part of it’s bearing down, part of it is just the structure pieces of it, making sure you’re on the right side of the puck, real fundamental things that at different times we weren’t very good at here today. That’s part of it. That’s part of it for sure. We’ve given up too many goals here through two games, that’s an area we wanted to get better in and obviously we’re not yet. That’s hurting us. At the same time, I think our offence has been very poor as well through both games despite the fact we got seven, plus the overtime goal I guess, so eight goals through two games. To me, offensively, we’re nowhere near where we need to be either. 

Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: Some nice possession in the second period capped by Alex’s goal, but when you have just 20-something shots overall against a team that hasn’t played in nearly a year, how does that get better within 24 hours? How do you get more at the net tomorrow night? 

Sheldon Keefe: I don’t see what the length of time from the last time they played matters. They’ve been back to practicing and scrimmaging, just like we have. In fact, they’ve been doing it longer than we have. I don’t think that’s a relevant part to anything, but it’s more about the style and how they played, how they compete. We knew they were going to be content to just stay on the inside and make it difficult for us there. We’re trying to speed up our game a lot offensively and challenge the net a lot more. We just haven’t done that. That’s going to take some time, that’s a big adjustment for a lot of our guys, but that’s something that we obviously need to do a better job of. You’re trying to set up the perfect shot and the perfect play towards the net, but there’s a great number of goals that are scored in the League that are just randomness. You just put the puck to space and try to outnumber the opposition and win loose pucks. That’s really all their goals, for the most part, came off situations like that. We had great control of the game for long periods of time, but didn’t accomplish much with it. That’s, again, another thing that’s been a message to our team since day one of camp, but it’s a big adjustment for our team. We’ll get there and playing against this team here again tomorrow night, and then the number of times that we do throughout the season with how they play, we’re going to get lots of practice at that. 

Q. Luke Fox, Sportsnet: What’s your assessment of Freddie’s play through two games here? 

Sheldon Keefe: I would say obviously too many pucks have gone in the net, but as we’ve talked about a number of times, that’s not all on him. We’ve got to do a better job in front of him. Lots of bodies, lots of loose pucks in and around the net here tonight. Lots of breakaways, stuff like that in the Montreal game to which he stood tall on, save for the one. There’s a lot more happening here where we need to improve in a lot of areas. I think Fred would probably agree that goaltending is one of them, but there’s a lot of other things happening out there that we’ve got to get better at.

Q. Luke Fox, Sportsnet: What’s your comfort level with the new power play units and when do you decide to go back to the unit from last season? 

Sheldon Keefe: We talked about it. We expected to use that unit from last season at different times. We’ve been getting in some practice reps and obviously used it today, used it a little bit in the Montreal game at different times. That said, we do feel like we need to give some time to those other units and those other looks and get more people involved. Not having exhibition games hasn’t given us ample time to really get a feel for what that can do to our team. Part of it is the effect it has on the powerplay itself and also the effects that it has outside of the powerplay with how you’re using people, how involved other people are in the game, spreading out minutes, all those kind of things and having defined roles for the players we’ve added. So we’ve got a lot happening there that’s not just about the success of the powerplay. We’re trying to see if we can have a greater outlook to it but yet still have success with the people that we have. Obviously we scored a powerplay goal in the first period and that was a big one for us. We gave it back just by a bad penalty and it compounded by a bad error, cheating on the penalty kill, getting caught with too many men. We gave that power play goal back. There’s things that we’ve got to continue to get better at and the best part of these back-to-back situations is you get to go right back at it again tomorrow. 

FREDERIK ANDERSEN

Q. Kristen Shilton, TSN: What did Ottawa do tonight to make it tough on you guys?

Frederik Andersen: I think they capitalized on a little bit of a lapse in our game. I thought we had a really good first period, good moments in the rest of the game too, but they pushed back on us and I think we maybe invited them a little bit back in and it shows you tough it is to win in this league. You’ve got to have a full 60 minute effort from the net out through every player. I think it was a good lesson early on. I think we can use it and move forward from here on out. 

Q. Jonas Siegel, The Athletic: What kind of adjustment has it been for you not having preseason games to work off rust and everything like that as usual? 

Frederik Andersen: It’s not anything I can really control. I just try to do as much as I can in practice and obviously the one preseason game we had in intersquad just to take what you can get. That’s really all I can do. I can’t just imagine a preseason game. Just got to work the kinks out as we go and I know I have better for them too. That’s the positive. 

ZACH HYMAN

Q. Kristen Shilton, TSN: It seemed like you guys had some really good possession there in the second period. How do you think Ottawa stole the momentum that they were able to hold onto? 

Zach Hyman: Yeah, they just took advantage of our mental lapses. I think we got the second one, got out to a lead, and then took a couple shifts off there. Then they’re on the board and they get three in a row. You just can’t take any shifts off.

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: How do you feel like your line is coming together a couple of games in now?

Zach Hyman: Good. I think that we all play fast. We all play hard. I thought we had a strong game. I thought we played well on the boards. I thought we played well together. I really like playing with those guys.

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: How different does Ottawa look now versus the last time you saw them? 

Zach Hyman: We knew they were going to be competitive and hungry. They have young guys who want to make a stamp in the League. A lot of young guys, and they’ve got a good coach in D.J. (Smith) who we’re familiar with. They’re a team that’s going to be good. They’re young but they’re good. We have them again tomorrow so we’ll be prepared.

Q. Jonas Siegel, The Athletic: What strides do you think this team can make defensively? 

Zach Hyman: I think just being hard on pucks. I think we have all the tools there, I think we just need to do it every shift and do it continuously. I don’t think we’re good enough to take shifts off. That goes for all lines, I think everyone can be better. Everyone can be better defensively. Those mental lapses turn out to go into our net.

AUSTON MATTHEWS

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Auston, you guys seemed to be in pretty good position up 2-1 in the second, where did things get away from you guys after that?  

Auston Matthews: I think we just kind of let our foot off the gas. I think we just were playing a little bit too loose and that’s a team that works hard, they’re not going to go away. That’s on all of us. We’ve got to make sure that we put our foot on the gas and no mercy. We can’t let up one bit because obviously this team, they’ve got speed, they’ve got skill and they work hard. 

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: How different do they look versus the team you last saw? It’s been a while for them playing. 

Auston Matthews: Same identity, you know what to expect every night. They’re going to work hard, they’re well coached, they’re not going to give you much time and space. Obviously, they’ve added some really good players, some young skill, some high draft picks. They’ve added another element to that team. That’s a good team. They hadn’t played a game in eight, nine months so we knew they were going to come out flying and we just let our foot off the gas.  

Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: The Kerfoot goal caps quite a long string of possession by you guys in the Sens’ end. How do you guys make that happen a little more often at 5-on-5 tomorrow night now do you think? 

Auston Matthews: I thought we had the puck quite a bit in their zone as far as possession goes. We had the puck quite a bit. I think trying to deliver it to the net like we did on that Kerfoot goal, getting more guys on the inside. I think we were a little bit too much perimeter tonight, but I think it’s just sticking with it, not letting our foot off the gas, like I said. That’s a good team over there and luckily we get another chance at them tomorrow. We’ve got to be ready to go.

JOHN TAVARES

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Where did you see the game get away from the team? 

John Tavares: We just had a really poor response after we took the lead. We controlled a lot of the game obviously playing on their half of the ice. We got a big goal, but very poor response and then gave them life and we weren’t able to establish our game again. We got sloppy and it obviously led to too many good looks for them and then trying to dig yourself out of a three goal hole is difficult to do in this league. 

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Sens haven’t played in a long time. How do they look to you versus the last time you saw them? 

John Tavares: They’ve obviously added some good players and have made some strong moves, they continue to develop a lot of the players they’ve been bringing in. We know they’re going to work and compete and there’s not going to be any easy nights against them. 

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