Q. Kristen Shilton, TSN: Auston was just saying he felt like maybe you guys were playing it a bit too safe tonight. Did you feel similarly that maybe that held you back from really getting going offensively?
Sheldon Keefe: If you don’t play a little bit safe against this team, they’re going to embarrass you like they did the last time they were in here. You have to be intelligent with how you play, but at the same time, we had our opportunities to play with the puck, they defended well and we didn’t make any plays, we didn’t get off the wall, we didn’t do anything. We can talk about it however way we wish, but both teams defended well today. They were just a little bit better offensively than we were and that’s the difference.
Q. Chris Johnston, Sportsnet: Given those weapons that they have, can you take some positives from the defensive effort and the amount of chances you gave up?
Sheldon Keefe: Sure,I thought defensively we didn’t really expose ourselves until the third period – we started giving up some chances when we were really pressing, but I didn’t like our game at all today. I thought we were really slow, disjointed, didn’t play with enough pace to generate any sort of sustained pressure or offense. Couldn’t draw power plays, took some careless penalties ourselves and that ends up being the difference in the game. A bad bounce and a penalty we couldn’t kill that caught up with us in the third.
Q. Jonas Siegel, The Athletic: I’m just wondering if you had an update on Joe
Sheldon Keefe: Looks like he’s definitely going to miss some time here with us, but we don’t know the extent of it. He’s going to have to get more tests and images and stuff like that later this week.
Q. Kevin McGran, Toronto Star: If you could put your finger on what went wrong, what would you be doing differently on Friday night against this same team?
Sheldon Keefe: Well we’re going to have to look at it. Like I said, they defended really well today. They really shut down the neutral zone, made it hard for us to get through there and we turned the puck over a lot and got stalled offensively once we got in the zone. It was really difficult to get to the net so we’ll have to look to see what we can do better there offensively. I don’t think when we had the puck we played well. I do think you’re definitely aware of who you’re out there against and that’s a big factor in the game. You have to be, but that’s not no excuse to why that would affect us the way it did. We just didn’t skate or work offensively enough today.
Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: I think you used the term careless penalties, but is it tough when you guys play the way you did and you put yourselves in the position to have some of the calls that were made tonight? How do you see it? I’m talking specifically about the Muzzin call.
Sheldon Keefe: We had a hold, a high stick, trip. These are careless penalties that the other team’s not taking. We had a couple of power plays, I think, and chance to score on those and didn’t, but I thought we took some careless ones there that really stalled our game, first of all, even more. And then you know a power play like that is going to break through eventually and we gave them too many opportunities.
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: You talked earlier this morning about Auston’s two-way game. Do you feel he did enough in that area tonight? It certainly looked like he had takeaways using his body, scoring the goal. Do you feel he did his best tonight?
Sheldon Keefe: I thought he worked, I thought he did a pretty good job, but I thought all our guys were really disconnected today. Where Auston had success, just like his goal, was very individual. He created the takeaway. He attacked the net. We didn’t do much together with any sort of connection from our zone out through the neutral zone into the offensive zone. They also made it difficult because they defended well, they pushed us to the wall so you don’t have proper support and people around the puck. It makes it real hard.
I thought all of our lines and players today were just disjointed and didn’t have legs. Today was a strange game. I don’t know how many of you were in the building, but today was the first game, to me, that felt like a game with no fans. It was a really quiet and slow pace to the game. The first period was tough to get through being on the bench. It just felt like one of those nights and we were trying to get something going. It didn’t feel like we ever really got there.
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: You’re a guy who played a lot against Edmonton, do you find they have, they’re known for their offence but they can put a good forechecking game together tonight like they did?
T.J. Brodie: Yeah, they’re a fast team over there. You know they like to get pucks in deep and get on the forecheck and they’re a pretty big team too. It was as we expected. I thought we did a good job containing the speed through the neutral zone. You know there’s definitely things to improve on for the next game.
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: Along those lines, you were probably happy to keep their big line shut down to a large degree five-on-five.
T.J. Brodie: Yeah, you know those big guys are good and skilled guys. So, anytime you can hold them off the scoresheet five-on-five is big.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: What sort of adjustments or areas you feel you’d like to up for the rematch on Friday?
T.J. Brodie: I think maybe just playing faster. It’s an asset for us to play fast and tonight, I felt like it was a little slow on the regroups and stuff like that. I think that’ll be a big difference maker if we can do that.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: You feel that will be something that will be easier as the season gets going? You guys didn’t have the exhibition season, no preseason games, that sort of thing.
T.J. Brodie: Yeah, definitely. The longer guys play together, the more they get to know each other, get to know the tendencies and get that chemistry built and you know, that’s a big aspect of the game.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Why do you think it ended up playing out the way it did as a tightly defensive struggle?
Mitch Marner: I think both teams know that both teams are deadly on odd-man rushes, 3-on-2s, 2-on-1s, anything like that. I think everyone was trying to stay above people, not really give a whole lot of space out there. You could just tell it was a game that wasn’t too many odd-man rushes or anything like that going on. It was going to be won down low and around the net.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Auston was talking this morning about the battle against the McDavid line and he’s going to get his looks, but it felt like you did a good job of containing him tonight. How do you assess that matchup?
Mitch Marner: I think we were staying above, we were doing a good job, but I think we’ve got to be better in the O-zone, we’ve got to hold on to the puck more, try and control it more. I feel like we weren’t really pressuring too hard on the offence, we were worried about staying above them all night. I think, like I said, we did a good job of it, but at the same time, we’ve got to play more down low in their zone and make it harder.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: So much firepower on both sides, why did you think it ended up being more of a defensive game?
Auston Matthews: I think both teams watched the pre-scout and were trying to key in on the top guys. It was a pretty underwhelming game, not much going on. We really didn’t do a great job through the neutral zone, we couldn’t get much going. Not a whole lot of offense in that game, not really expected but we definitely have to do a much greater job creating offense.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Talking to Mitch, he was happy with the job you guys did on the McDavid line defensively, not as much in terms of the offensive zone. How did you see that matchup tonight?
Auston Matthews: When we go through the pre-scout, obviously we key in on those two guys – they’re extremely dangerous, two of the top two players in the world. We can’t get away from our game too, we’ve got to go out there and play our game and try to produce offence. We’ve got to play to win, not contain two guys. I think we’ve got to regroup as a team, do a good job of watching video and learning from some mistakes and trying to apply some stuff to this next game because we’ve got these guys in another day here.
On tonight’s game as a defensive battle:
Morgan Rielly: If you look at the goals, they’re kind of unusual. The puck was bouncing a little bit, I guess. I don’t know, it was just one of those nights I think. Both teams obviously were focused on the big guys up front so that’s just how it goes sometimes.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: How do you asses how you guys handled McDavid and the speed he’s got?
Morgan Rielly: It was good. We’re back at it again in a couple of days and I think after that we got them six more times or something so we’ve got a lot of work left to do. I thought it was alright first night.
Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: You get the Oilers right back again on Friday. What do you take out of this that you can apply to Friday night?
Morgan Rielly: I think that there are periods of the game where we played okay. We got chances. As we talk about it tomorrow at practice, there will be areas that we’ve got to clean up. Obviously, you want the power play to be able to execute when you’ve got chances. I think that in terms of turnovers, I think we had too many, but we’ll talk about that tomorrow. We’ll talk about what we can do to be better and that’ll be discussed. But you know as of right now, I think it was just an odd night. We expect to be better here on Friday.