HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the need to attack the opposition’s net to generate more offence next week:
Obviously, when you look at the last couple games on this trip, we haven’t been able to generate much offensively. So that’s part of it. You look at a lot of the goals that we’ve scored here in recent games, a lot of it’s been happening around the net. We need to have more of a presence in there, but it’s an interesting road trip. You’d never think that our team would give up two goals in two games and only come away with one point, you’d probably think we were talking about a different team, but that’s the reality, that’s the way it was this week. The offence dried up for us, a lot of things that have been going in for us haven’t and didn’t on this trip and we don’t get results as a result.
On the challenge of keeping the team’s spirits up after the road trip:
Well, it’s difficult, but I think just the fact that our team takes a lot of heat for how we defend and what we give up and how many goals we give up and all those types of things and how wide-open games are. We’ve focused a lot on that as a team, in terms of slowing a lot of that stuff down. I think we’ve done that for quite a while here now — and now today wasn’t as good as yesterday in that regard, but we’ve got to find ways within that to generate offence. I think that the positives are that our guys will feel good about the fact that they’re playing in these tight games and feel good about the fact on the back-to-back at the end of the trip here that we have our best period in the third and have a pretty strong push throughout the period, but we’ll regroup and be ready on home ice.
On the power play drying up in recent games:
Yeah, it has gone dry. Really, what I’m seeing is a lot of the shots that had been going in for us aren’t going in, in recent games. So when that happens, we’ve got to really look at things and see what we can change and see what we can do a little differently to find some different looks and change things up a little bit. Now, we’ve scored at pretty much a ridiculous pace for quite some time here now and over time those things dry up a little bit and you’ve got to make adjustments.
JACK CAMPBELL (26 SAVES)
On the pressure on him to be perfect when the team is struggling to score goals:
I have belief — full belief — in this team as far as their goal-scoring ability. Obviously, we’re a little snake-bitten right now, but I think they played well enough to score a couple and I just take ownership of that second one. If I can see it, I expect myself to stop it every time and he just beat me clean so that one’s on me and we should have had at least a point.
On his save on Getzlaf while shorthanded to end the second period:
Yeah, it was battling. It was a strange play at the net, it kind of went off a shin pad or something, I made a right pad save and the game kind of slowed down a little bit and I kind of saw it play out. I just tried to get my glove up and luckily, he put it there. So I’ll take that one for sure.
MITCH MARNER (22:26 TOI)
On the level of frustration at the recent lack of scoring for the team:
I just think we know it’s going to come so there’s no need to rush or put pressure on ourselves. We’re a team that can score and this road trip we showed that we can play in low-scoring games, it’s just our scoring wasn’t there, but it’ll come.
On what the team needs to do to generate more greasy goals:
Yeah, I just think those second opportunities. It starts with all of us. From our D to our forwards, we all come up top, we all get those shots through and tonight and through this road trip forward-wise, when we come in as F3, we’re not getting those shots through. We’re making those turnovers happen and getting caught with our D down and I just think ruining a little bit of chemistry and stuff like that. So, like I said, we know it’s going to turn around, there’s no reason to feel like we should put pressure on ourselves and we’ve just got to stay calm with it.
AUSTON MATTHEWS (23:03 TOI)
On the team having the personnel to be able to push through this week’s slump:
We’re all in this together. You play through the good and the bad and the adversity and obviously, in the position that we’re in, there’s lots of critics and lots of stuff that comes with it. But I think in this room we’re headstrong, and it doesn’t matter what’s going to get thrown our way, we’re going to come out of it stronger. Obviously, not the road trip that that we really wanted. So, that’s on us and we’ve got to just build forward and put this aside, learn from it and be better.
On what has prevented the team from generating offence:
I think it’s no secret you come on this road trip, it’s not easy and I think the teams that we played they’re more — their strategy and kind of structure is more to just kind of defend and push you to the outside and let you make the mistakes first. I think for us, we didn’t really challenge the middle of the goalie, he didn’t really have too many tough saves to make. I think that’s a bit of an issue for us right now. I think it’s a little bit of our structure too. I think we’re kind of one foot in the door, one foot out as far as the way we want to play, and I think we just all need to be 100 percent in.
JOHN TAVARES (21:18 TOI)
On what has led to a lack of goals in recent games:
Well, it’s that time of year, things get tighter. You don’t have as much room as maybe you get at times throughout the season. We’ve just got to find a way to get second and third opportunities, get a couple ugly ones. I thought we pressed hard and stayed with it. Obviously, we just didn’t cash in.
On if the struggle to score has led to the team playing tight:
Yeah, maybe. At times, I guess it’s just, honestly, don’t even think about where you’re putting it, just get it on net. I think get bodies there, find a way to cause some confusion, make it tough on them to have to defend you around their net, make it tough on the goaltender. Just got to stay patient, got to keep working and staying with it. Obviously, we’ve got to find a way to put some in and get some results. There was a lot of good things. Just got to find a way to, like I said, get inside that tough part of the ice. That’s tough to get opportunities at this time of year.