DUCKS 2, LEAFS 1. WHAT THEY SAID: “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.” –JACK CAMPBELL

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.

Andersen returns to Leafs crease on Thursday versus Kings — Toronto Sun

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Sheldon Keefe’s head triumphed over his heart. Read More

Andersen returns to Leafs crease on Thursday versus Kings — Toronto Sun

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Sheldon Keefe’s head triumphed over his heart.

Rather than give goaltender Jack Campbell a start on Thursday against his former club, the Los Angeles Kings, Keefe will turn to Frederik Andersen after Campbell was sharp against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Campbell will start on Friday in Anaheim against the Ducks, giving Andersen another rest.

“The biggest thought process for us is we wanted to get Jack in two out of three games this week,” Keefe said. “That trumps anything in terms of him playing against his former team.

“Also, Fred’s our starting goaltender. It makes sense for him coming off (the fact) he didn’t play (Tuesday) night, had a full practice day (Wednesday) and he goes in and plays a game. He deserves that. At this time of year especially, you have to make those right decisions.”

Keefe has spoken of load management regarding Andersen, without using those words specifically.

Andersen has made 50 starts this season, tying him for third-most in the NHL prior to games on Wednesday. Campbell gives the Leafs a legitimate, don’t-need-to-worry backup, and we assume Campbell will be used more in the final month of the regular season.

Defenceman Rasmus Sandin will be back in the lineup after sitting in San Jose, with Calle Rosen likely to be scratched.

— Terry Koshan

SHARKS 5, LEAFS 2. WHAT THEY SAID: “Most of that second period they dominated us. They did what they wanted to and we didn’t win enough puck battles. The only reason we really had a chance going into that third period was because of Jack (Campbell). He played great tonight like usual for us and made it feel possible, got us through that second period and that third we just gave up too many chances. We weren’t stopping on pucks or being strong enough on pucks and it came back to haunt us.” –MITCH MARNER.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On tonight’s loss:

They played really hard today. We just finished a stretch of games here where we played against some of the top teams in the League. For me, that was a harder game for us to play today, just the pace the puck moved, the pace that their feet moved, how competitive they were. Our inability to respond to that and find another level in our game causes a problem where we just — the ice tilted in that second period and we just couldn’t get it back. So that was really tough. The third period to me was pretty even, we just gave up some chances that ended up in our net, but the second period was where they really established their game and took it to us. Strange as it is, that’s the one that we win. We win that period of the three. So we’re in a good spot to try and play there in the third but we gave up too many chances and eventually cost us. You don’t win games when you score two goals.

On Jack Campbell’s play tonight:

I thought he battled all through that second period. There’s a lot of shots, a lot of pucks coming at him. He made some great saves for us there to keep us in the game and give us a chance to win that period and then set us up for the third. Some of the goals — when you look at the goals that go in, there’s some funny stuff happening behind the net, behind the goal line, stuff like that, but he battled and made saves for us. As I said, their goaltender made saves too. We had some real high-end chances that didn’t go in for us, but we’ve got to find a way to generate more than two goals if we want to have a chance to win, and then we can’t give up nearly what we gave up today. A lot of things that haven’t been issues for us in terms of odd-man rushes against and guys getting behind us — we’ve been talking about how we’ve cleaned that up pretty well, but It came back into our game today, I think, in part due to the pace of play, and we just didn’t respond well to it.

JACK CAMPBELL (33 SAVES)

On what San Jose did well in the second period:

I just know they got a lot better. I’m just disappointed. I thought we played, we battled and, you know, I just think Jones outplayed me, bottom line. So I’m not happy about that and I just feel responsible for this one.

On if San Jose is known for lively boards when pucks are shot into the zone:

I’ve played well here before and yeah, I don’t know what was going on there. They must have greased them up before the game. The pucks were coming off pretty strange angles, but no excuses. I’ve just got to find the puck and make the save.

On if he felt any rust after not playing the prior seven games:

No. I felt sharp and dialed in and no excuse for giving up four. It’s just not acceptable.

MITCH MARNER (1 GOAL)

On where the game got away from the team:

Most of that second period they dominated us. They did what they wanted to and we didn’t win enough puck battles. The only reason we really had a chance going into that third period was because of Jack. He played great tonight like usual for us and made it feel possible, got us through that second period and that third we just gave up too many chances. We weren’t stopping on pucks or being strong enough on pucks and it came back to haunt us.

On if the team is still learning how to be more consistent when things go wrong:

I think it’s just the consistency of every shift. It’s just knowing that you want to watch guys go on before you and battle, get in lanes. Coming into this game we talked about how they have one of the best, if not the best guy, at getting pucks through. When that’s happening, we know their game plan is going to be trying to get pucks through on tips, high tips, low tips. We need guys to get in lanes, we need guys to sacrifice for each other and I think that’s something that we’re just missing. It’s just guys needing to buy in more and getting themselves ready.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On trying to play catch up tonight:

Yeah, they play fast. I think the momentum kind of tipped their way and I think we didn’t really do a very good job of getting it back. I think they just kept coming and coming and a lot of times, we just had no pushback. Tough to get stuff going that way.

On San Jose making a big push in the second period: 

Yeah, for sure. I think we just got caught out there and they were able to just continue to play in our zone and kind of tire us out, tire our back end out and just kind of wear on us. So, like I said, they came with a good push there and we just really had no answer.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, SENATORS 2–WHAT THEY SAID: “I liked a lot about our third period. Maybe three or four of our best chances of the game come in the third period there, we could have really blown the game open, but their goalie made a bunch of saves and let them hang around, so it made it interesting. Luckily, we got the bounce to go our way on the empty net, which I think we earned that bounce through our play with it.” –SHELDON KEEFE.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On the win starting with Campbell’s play in goal:

I would say in part. Soupy played a good game for us today. I thought our team played a good hockey game. You know, I thought we had a really good second period, they pull the goaltender, it changes momentum a little bit and I didn’t like how we responded for that final segment in the second period. But I liked a lot about our third period. Maybe three or four of our best chances of the game come in the third period there, we could have really blown the game open, but their goalie made a bunch of saves and let them hang around, so it made it interesting. Luckily, we got the bounce to go our way on the empty net, which I think we earned that bounce through our play with it.

On the opportunity to coach a game in Ottawa:

Well, it was special for me and nothing to do with the game or anything like that, but just a chance to see many of the people that were important in supporting me and my family through our time in Pembroke and the operation of the Lumber Kings. To have them in the building and have a chance to thank them each in person was important to me. Anytime when I think about the chance for me to coach in the NHL, right away I would think, ‘How can I thank those people?’ I can never say or do anything to really repay them for everything they sacrificed to give me a start and a foundation to be able to coach at that level. But having them in the building was special, and I was happy that it worked out.

On his evolution since taking over as head coach:

I think I’ve grown as I’ve learned about the League and the schedule and how quickly you have to reset for the next day and also how important framing each win or loss or adversity for the team because you have to manage the emotions because you don’t have time to let things fester. You’ve got to deal with things. So that would be the biggest thing and the biggest adjustment coming from the American League, just how quickly the games come at you and kind of relentless especially in this month. 

JACK CAMPBELL (25 SAVES)

On if it matters whether the team is playing on the road and at home:

I don’t it does. I think the team plays great no matter what the situation is. Just happy to be here and glad the boys played so well and got two points.

On being 3-0-1 in goal since his arrival:

I would have loved to have kept that Scandella shot out in Montreal so we would have had six out of six, but I think the boys have played really well and we’ve gotten some big points. With Freddie coming back it just gives us a lot of momentum. We’ve got a pretty busy schedule here, so we’ve just got to hit the reset button tomorrow and be ready to go.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On Campbell’s play in net tonight:

Yeah, Soupy was great for us. He made some huge saves. I mean, you see him in there and he’s having so much fun. He just loves to compete and loves to battle for the guys, he came up with some big saves and obviously a big two points for us to pull out.

On his goal in the first period:

I just tried to wait him out and then saw a little bit of an opening and just tried to sneak it in there so that’s about it.

JAKE MUZZIN (1 GOAL)

On his goal in the second period:

I just saw traffic in front and just wristed one in there and it found its way through. It’s nice to get one once in a while.

On if there’s a secret to the team’s road success:

I don’t know, maybe that workman mentality coming in here, getting two points and getting out, that type of feel to the game and into our team. We did a lot of good things tonight and we’ll look to build on it and continue going forward.

On the importance of getting the first goal:

We always want to come out and have a good start, especially in away buildings and tonight we were able to get on the board and get going.

‘HIS ENERGY IS AWESOME’: Campbell gets another start in Leafs net — Toronto Sun

Freddy is getting steady, but he’s not quite ready to resume his goaltending duties with the Maple Leafs. Read More

‘HIS ENERGY IS AWESOME’: Campbell gets another start in Leafs net — Toronto Sun.

CANADIENS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 1 (OT)– WHAT THEY SAID: “I really liked the way we were coming back and getting above them. We really tracked the puck well and caused a lot of turnovers that allowed us to get some good transition that just allowed us to be in on the forecheck and recover pucks and then be able to break them down. We would have liked to get in the middle of the ice a little bit more, but it was a tight hockey game, both goalies played well, but those things obviously were a good factor for us.” — JOHN TAVARES.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On the third period:

Yeah, we scored that goal, it sets us up to give us a chance to win in the third. The pace of play increased dramatically after that goal. Obviously, they’re pushing. We didn’t handle it well, I thought. When I say that, I thought we handled it very well defensively. I didn’t think we cracked, they had a couple of little chances in and around our net. Other than that, they didn’t have anything, I thought. They score a goal on a point shot. But I didn’t like how we played offensively where we had the puck, we did all the things that we don’t want to be as a team and we just gave it back to them, so we never had a chance to get going.

On if fatigue played a role in the third period:

I’ll let you guys draw some conclusions on that. I’m not focused on that. It’s part of the League. It’s part of the demands of what goes on in the schedule, the ebbs and flows of it. I thought we played a good game and a hard game. I thought we competed. What happens in the third period today is a lot different than what happens yesterday. Yesterday we’re not engaged, we’re not competitive or physical enough and on our heels. This game here I thought we defended very well, defended very hard and didn’t give up the middle of the ice much at all. We just were very poor with the puck. When you have a team that’s pushing, they have the energy of the crowd and you just continuously give them the puck you’re going to be on your heels a lot.

On Jack Campbell’s play:

Yeah, he was there, he obviously didn’t let anything in until the very end and I thought we did a heck of a job protecting him. We didn’t give up very many scoring chances through this game at all. But they’re back-to-back games, he’s been through a lot here this week and he was solid.

On what has led to John Tavares’ scoring streak:

He’s just catching on. We’ve talked about him, he’s a good player, he’s going to have these swings. It’s kind of a waste of time to talk about it when he’s not scoring, because it’s going to turn. So it’s the way that it goes. It’s been great, it’s been good timing. Obviously, we played it out Willy this weekend, so we needed somebody else to step up. And, for me, that’s really the difference in the hockey game today is you don’t win games when you score one goal, it’s very difficult. So I think that’s the way it went this game. We were not able to generate enough offensively in the first and second periods as well. Power play wasn’t very good for us today. So we let that team hang around and when you just have a one goal cushion like that, you leave the door open over for a point shot to catch you.

On Frederik Andersen’s status:

I’m not quite sure where that’s at. I know he did skate again today. While we were here, he skated, and I haven’t got a report on it. So we’ll just have to see how he is when we get back.

TYSON BARRIE (25:02 TOI)

On the third period:

Yeah, give them credit, they came out — we had a good start to the third, obviously, we got one and then from there they kind of controlled the period had us on our heels, like you said. I think we have to do a better job of responding in a way. Getting more O-zone time and not letting them sustain so much pressure but, at the end of the day, we’re trying to hold on to the lead and they get one with two minutes left or whatever. It’s a bit frustrating.

On Jack Campbell’s play:

He was great tonight. He was good all night and makes a great save on the breakaway and it pops right to the guy. Probably not a great shot selection by me on that 3-on-2 but that’s sometimes the way 3-on-3 goes. You’ve got to be a little smarter sometimes.

JACK CAMPBELL (28 SAVES)

On playing in a Toronto-Montreal game:

It’s fun. What a rivalry. Historic and two really solid teams this year. I thought both teams competed really hard and didn’t give each other much. I thought Price at the other end was so solid and we could have easily had a couple more, but at the end of the day I’ve just got to make one more save before overtime and we get two points and that’s what we need right now.

On his performance tonight:

I’m just definitely not happy giving that one up to give them life again and blow that lead in the third. I just know my ability and I’m confident with my team in front of me and they battled all night. One more save and we get two points.

JAKE MUZZIN (24:39 TOI)

On if playing a back-to-back impacted the team’s third period performance:

Maybe a little bit. No excuse, though. Everyone goes through back-to-backs and playing tired and stuff like that. We’ve got to bear down and get it done.

On his long second period shift that included a heavy shot block:

Well, it doesn’t feel good. It’s part of hockey. Sometimes in the second period, you get a long change, you can’t get off. It happens both ways, so it is what it is.

JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL)

On tonight’s third period:

Yeah, obviously we got the lead. They came with a lot momentum, I think, felt some desperation. I think obviously, it’s human nature to be a little bit safer in those certain circumstances, but certainly we’ve got to find a way to get on their half of the ice more and generate some more offense and push to increase our lead and continue to be smart with the puck and defensively. No question the circumstances were tough, but you face that at times this year and, we’ve obviously got to find a way to close them out.

On what the team did well defensively through two periods:

I really liked the way we were coming back and getting above them. We really tracked the puck well and caused a lot of turnovers that allowed us to get some good transition that just allowed us to be in on the forecheck and recover pucks and then be able to break them down. We would have liked to get in the middle of the ice a little bit more, but it was a tight hockey game, both goalies played well, but those things obviously were a good factor for us.