HURRICANES 6, MAPLE LEAFS 3–WHAT THEY SAID: "It's another embarrassing night, right? Embarrassing nights shock the system a little bit, you know? I think this game was different than the others. I don't think today was a lack of work ethic or anything like that. Today was just our execution. We couldn't connect on a pass. Part of it is them, they put pressure on us, Carolina pressured us, they were above us, but like you saw on our power play, we just couldn't connect on passes. The execution was really poor and then you've got a team that works the way that they do." –SHELDON KEEFE.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On the loss:

Yeah, it’s a tough one. It’s going to be a tough one here for us to regroup from, it’s going to take a little time. Obviously, disappointing given the way it went for us the other day and we thought we had put together a good process and a good model for what we need to look like and how we can have success. I thought at 5-on-5, our first period was fine. Special teams was a real issue and perhaps signs of what was to come in terms of — especially our power play, I just thought our execution was so poor. It’s a sign our best players just weren’t having a good night. That was more of what was to come in the second and third. Get out of the first period up 1-0, 5-on-5 I thought we had played pretty good, especially the back half of it. A lot of that work was done from our third and fourth lines and the energy and pace that they had. We just were not able to sustain it. The special teams struggle again, this time our power play. Obviously, the penalty kill didn’t get good results, but our power play really had a chance to make a mark in the game and clearly failed to do so.

On if he thought the team expected an easy game after scoring two quick goals in the second period:

No, I didn’t. The reality is that the game really just stayed the same. We got a couple of shots and they went in. Their D hurt his shoulder, so they lost their coverage and allowed John to turn the corner and get his shot. When the goalie switch happened, I talked to the team and said if we don’t change how we’re playing, they don’t even need a goalie. There’re no chances, no shots, there’s nothing happening. They didn’t need a goaltender the way the game was going. Credit to them, we missed pretty well a near open net at the buzzer at the end of the second and could have made it 4-4 going into the third. Really, we just gifted them two at the start of the third. It’s game over from there. They competed hard, they were above us really the entire game and we just continued to pass into it. Our execution was poor, away from the puck was very poor, unorganized. From an execution standpoint, from our best people, especially, it was a real tough night like we’ve haven’t seen from them.

On his relationship with David Ayres:

Great. He’s got great energy, he comes to the rink every day, just wants to work and wants to be a part of it. Whether it’s with the Marlies or the Leafs, he’s always there when you need him. There’s probably not an emergency goaltender anywhere in pro hockey that has seen as many pro shots as this guy who’s in pretty much every day getting work. It feels terrible given that he’s on the other side today from our end of it. On a personal note, you can’t help but feel good for the guy.

On how to get the current mindset out of the team during a playoff push:

It’s just what we talked about before. It’s another embarrassing night, right? Embarrassing nights shock the system a little bit, you know? I think this game was different than the others. I don’t think today was a lack of work ethic or anything like that. Today was just our execution. We couldn’t connect on a pass. Part of it is them, they put pressure on us, Carolina pressured us, they were above us, but like you saw on our power play, we just couldn’t connect on passes. The execution was really poor and then you’ve got a team that works the way that they do. Not connecting makes it really tough to get anything going positive. Defensively, as a unit, our six D probably had as tough a night as they’ve had in quite some time. That’s a bad combination for us.

On Carolina responding to their goalie situation:

There’s a lot focus on the goalie, of course, but they were dominating us before the goalie switch. After it came, it just stays the same. You’ve got to get through five people to the goalie. We couldn’t get to Mrazek when he was in there. The game was the same. It just so happened it was a different guy in between the pipes. The game was the same, the just continued to play hard the way they were before.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (42 SAVES)

On his takeaways from tonight’s performance:

At the end of the day, I’m going to try to focus on what I can do to do better out there and focus in on my tasks. I think I still have got to be better too and frustrating for everyone.

On if he felt a shift in the team’s play after Ayres came in for Mrazek:

I wasn’t paying too much attention to that. I was trying to worry about stopping the next puck and trying to give us a chance. I wasn’t good enough either. Good on Dave, I think he did a good job and I think they played well in front of him.

MITCH MARNER (20:11 TOI)

On what prevented the team from having success tonight:

I just think we didn’t have enough zone time. A lot of one-and-dones, turnovers, especially our line, especially myself. It’s just not good enough. I expect myself to be a lot better in these types of games. Knowing that was a big one, knowing that this team’s going to come out like that, it’s bulls— on my part. Something I’ve got to be better and we’ve got to be better with.

On if the team the team was forcing things in the third period:

Maybe. Like I said, I think we were a lot of just one-and-dones. Our line’s past games, we’ve been dominant down low, we’ve been playing with that confidence and playing, I think, just most of all with just using our willpower and that’s something that wasn’t there for myself tonight and I feel a couple of other guys. Like I said, it starts with myself, I’m supposed to be a leader and need to be way better than that.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (20:27 TOI)

On what the team can do to move forward:

I think it still allows us the opportunity to fix this ourselves. We’ve got to go out there and play. Obviously, the effort wasn’t there tonight and it’s only up to us to change that.

On if the difference between tonight and Thursday is bewildering:

It is. I think we took a big step forward, especially with the previous game, playing the same team, really good effort, obviously. You think you can kind of pick up on that momentum and you want to continue that and carry it into another game. Like you said, a tough week of games against tough opponents and it just wasn’t there tonight.

JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL)

On if he’s ever seen anything like tonight’s game before in his career:

Certainly no. We obviously didn’t handle the circumstances of the game very well. Might have been our poorest night of execution. We seemed like the team that played last night and traveled. We were sloppy and I thought our execution was extremely low.

On the defensive job Carolina did once their second goaltender left the game:

They did a good job, no question they played hard. They’ve got good players, they’re a good hockey team but for the way we played I think we know it’s just unacceptable and not even close to good enough. We didn’t make it challenging at all and knowing once the goaltending situation happened they were going to block shots, they were going to make us have to come through five guys and work to get to the middle of the ice and we just didn’t even come close to making it hard on them that way.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, PENGUINS 0– WHAT THEY SAID: "It was great. I think we responded the way we wanted to. I think the guys played really good. Muzz especially I thought was unbelievable today. Obviously, a great goal and amazing break out pass for Kappy's goal, I think it was. Overall, a really good effort by the guys." — FREDERIK ANDERSEN.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On what he liked about the team’s performance tonight vs. the previous two games:

I think we’ve talked about it before. We’ve shown at different times that this is a group with a lot of character and a lot of pride, and we showed that today with how we responded.

On if the performance tonight started with success in the faceoff circle:

Yeah, for sure, those guys had strong nights. I think it’s just a sign of how engaged we were in the game. I would say that was where the game begins in a lot of cases. Guys were hard on the puck in all areas of the game.

On Muzzin’s performance tonight:

Just complete. He battled, he was competitive, he shot one into the net, found a way to get a couple of assists. Just all over the game. He was a real leader for us back there.

On Kerfoot’s role in kickstarting the third line tonight:

Yeah, I think it really helps us. That line has really been struggling for us to find an identity and to find some consistency. It’s tough for us because I thought Kerf was doing an excellent job with [Tavares] and [Nylander] and playing well there. Just talking we said the acquisition of Malgin gives us an opportunity to give him a look with those guys. I just thought that Alex could bring something back to that line. We wanted to give him a chance to be a centre and get that line going. The wingers, Engvall and Kappy, are two guys we think have more to give us. That happened today.

On Andersen’s performance on a late first period penalty kill:

Yeah, he was excellent. He was perfect, he keeps it out of the net. He battled, he looked solid there. It was just a really good sign for our team. He made saves on the pucks that they were throwing around the net, but there was also a lot of loose ones hanging out there. Our guys collapsed real hard on the loose pucks to maybe not necessarily get it out like we would have liked, but at least kept away from our net and allowed us to settle the game. I thought that penalty kill was a really important time in the game, obviously it didn’t crack. It was a good chance for our penalty kill, which had been outstanding for us. I think the 12 games or so in the month leading up to the game in Pittsburgh we had the number one penalty kill in the NHL. So the penalty kill has been really strong for us and today was a chance for us to bring it right back.

On Kapanen’s impact on the game tonight:

That’s what he’s capable of doing. That’s the impact that he has on our team. So just really great to see that. It gives us consistency all throughout our lineup.

On the challenge of trying to maximize the team’s performance after the last two games:

This season is going very different; different things. It’s going to require different things from me, it’s going to require different things from our players. We didn’t like how the last little bit has gone. I was excited about the opportunity to get to work yesterday and put in the work and respond. You’re playing against the same team, it has a playoff feel to it when you take a beatdown in the first game, you have a chance to regroup and make a plan and push your team, challenge the team, motivate your team. That’s the best part of this game. I was excited about it; I think our players were too and it showed tonight.

On if there were any keys to getting the right response from the team after Tuesday:

I think there was a lot said, a lot done and all that kind of stuff, but a part of it too is you just don’t like to get embarrassed. Our guys have a lot of pride in themselves, a lot of pride in the jersey and the organization. So, we could have said or done nothing, and we might have gotten this type of response. We’ll never really know. Regardless of the route, we like that we got the response, we like the outcome, we love the result. Get the shutout and didn’t give up much against a very good team. I thought we controlled play for good chunks of time against a very good team. A lot of really good healthy signs here so we’ll enjoy it.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (24 SAVES)

On the effort from the team’s blueliners tonight:

It was great. I think we responded the way we wanted to. I think the guys played really good. Muzz especially I thought was unbelievable today. Obviously, a great goal and amazing break out pass for Kappy’s goal, I think it was. Overall, a really good effort by the guys.

On the team scoring first and building its lead:

I think it goes without saying it’s better to score than give anything up. I thought we did a good job.

On if the team defended differently late to shut down Pittsburgh’s attack:

No, I thought we just stuck with our game for the most part of the game. We played a complete effort. That was a great response by everyone, I think, the way we want to be like.

KASPERI KAPANEN (1 GOAL)

On playing with emotion tonight:

I think the whole team showed a lot of emotion tonight, not just me in particular. You know, that’s the outcome when we play like that, we play with emotion and we stick to the structure and play the Maple Leaf way. That’s what happens and it was a good game throughout.

On his fight:

Stuff happens on the ice. I think Sandin got hit there and if it wasn’t me out there, I’m sure someone else would have stood up and defended one another. He came over and it just happened.

ALEX KERFOOT (1 ASSIST)

On Kapanen dropping the gloves:

It shows emotion, that’s what we were looking for. We wanted kind of a little more bite to our group. He’s a fiery guy at times and he had a great game tonight.  I thought he was all over the forecheck, he was physical all night. When you see a guy like him drop the gloves, everyone on the bench gets a boost from that.

On if it’s frustrating why the team can’t have this effort more consistently:

I don’t think frustrating is the right word. I think maybe it’s disappointing the effort we’ve had a times this year but whether you’re a team who wins games or can’t win games, every team in this league can win games so it’s not a matter of we’re some upper echelon team that on certain nights can win games — I think that there’s a lot of teams in this league that when they’re playing well can win games. We’ve just got to find that energy, that bite, that jam that we had tonight and be able to bring that on a consistent basis.

DENIS MALGIN (FIRST GAME AS A MAPLE LEAF)

On playing his first game as a Maple Leaf:

I was trying to do my best you know, I felt good.

On playing with Tavares and Nylander:

It’s a great opportunity for me and now I’m just going to build off it.

On what being traded felt like:

Actually I don’t think so much, so I just took it and I was happy to be here.

WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL)

On tonight’s win:

I think it was a solid team game. I think this is what we needed. We had two terrible games, so to come back this is a good start, but we’ve just got to stick with this kind of game and keep playing like this and we’ll be good.

On what led to this effort after two straight losses:

Getting ready for the game, it’s just think that we haven’t been practicing so much and yesterday was a battle practice so we got into that kind of mode again. I think that was a good practice for us just to refresh in those kinds of areas of the game, which needed to improve.

JOHN TAVARES (2 ASSISTS)

On what he liked from the team tonight:

I think the intensity of the group, the way we started. It was a tight hockey game and we just stuck with it, got our opportunities, capitalized and didn’t let up in their end, I think that’s key for us. Good win, but obviously we’ve got to turn the page and get ready for Saturday. Lots of big hockey games coming up.

On the team’s success in the faceoff circle:

Yeah, we got a couple [goals] off them, so you just try to be as well prepared for those situations and those scenarios and take advantage of them when you can. Great shot by Muzz on the first one and then anytime you get a 5-on-3 and you’re able to win it clean, you’re able to get a good look right off of it. So good play [Matthews], great shot by Will. Just good areas to be sharp in and we generate a lot just everyone competing, hard work and fighting for their space and that led to open ice and good looks and following up on second opportunities.

PENGUINS 5, LEAFS 2 — WHAT THEY SAID: "I mean, it’s frustrating. We don’t think we’ve played this poorly since the last time we were in this building a few months ago. It’s obviously frustrating, but I mean we’ve got 20 plus games left obviously, we need to have more urgency in our game. We’re running out of time and have to start playing some good hockey here and really figure it out within this locker room going forward because obviously you only have a certain amount of games left and we’ve got a pretty tough schedule here coming up." –AUSTON MATTHEWS.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On what the process is for a team getting its confidence back:

Well it looks like the process that we want to go through is to just get embarrassed enough to the point where we just really look in the mirror and recognize what’s required for us to be able to compete at a high level at this stage of the season.

On if he is bewildered with recent performances:

Yeah, I am. It’s a different issue again today. We’ve talked about that. It’s been a little bit different each night. So if you had special teams on your bingo card of things that are hurting our group, then you’re happy today and get that one filled. But I think, ultimately, as we look at the different things, whether it’s giving up leads in the third period a couple weeks ago or getting scored on early on home ice or today special teams or what have you, I think the common denominator is just that the overall urgency and competitiveness of the group — I mean, special teams are the issue today, but we get a power play early in the game, we get a chance to take a hold of the game on the road against a very good team and we’re just not there. They’re just competing at a higher level than we are and then they get their chance and they just make it pretty clear what the difference is.

On if the team relies too much on skill rather than hard work:

It’s an easy narrative to latch on to. I don’t think we were relying on our skill or our talent or our work ethic at all today. But it’s not just today, and it’s not everyone either. Some guys are there consistently. You see the difference between a team that’s good some days and not so good others and a team that’s good all the time, no matter who’s in the lineup and you see that in the game tonight, the difference between them and us. They just work and when you do that, then the skilled players are having the puck a lot more and good things are happening and all that kind of stuff. We have to make a decision here what we want to be as a team because we’re going to run out of games.

On how the group finds urgency:

It’s a good question. I think it’s a decision to be made, obviously I have a role to be played in it in terms of demanding it from the group, in terms of accountability amongst the group, all those kinds of things. I think what’s happening here is as the injuries have piled up and as the schedule has gotten harder and the League has gotten harder, the time of the year and how desperate and urgent things are, more and more issues are coming up with our group in terms of some of our habits and details that are lacking and that’s where our team really has to grow. The skill is there, the other part of it has to be there. Without that foundation you don’t have a chance.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (19 SAVES)

On the difference on special teams tonight:

I mean that’s a big part of the game. I think they capitalized on their chances, we didn’t and that’s usually when a team wins that category that bad, usually they come out with a win.

On his level of concern with the team’s recent performances:

It’s not been good. I think today was good lesson in seeing a team that’s built championship teams and they haven’t really missed a step. Every time they’ve had a guy hurt, they have another guy coming in and playing their bag off with their effort and their detail. Something we can learn from and hopefully we can, like I said, use it and learn from it, but we better do it quick.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL)

On if special teams told the story tonight:

Just early we had a power play and they were pretty quick and obviously still sleeping and then they get their power plays and they capitalize on pretty much all of them and that’s pretty much the story of the night. We just weren’t good from the start.

On his level of concern and wanting to turn things around:

I mean, it’s frustrating. We don’t think we’ve played this poorly since the last time we were in this building a few months ago. It’s obviously frustrating, but I mean we’ve got 20 plus games left obviously, we need to have more urgency in our game. We’re running out of time and have to start playing some good hockey here and really figure it out within this locker room going forward because obviously you only have a certain amount of games left and we’ve got a pretty tough schedule here coming up.

JAKE MUZZIN (1 ASSIST)

On what the team needs to do to move forward:

Well, everyone’s got to take a look in the mirror, and we’ve got to be better. That’s unacceptable. We’ve got to find the urgency, the passion, the love of the game, the love to compete for each other. All of that needs to come. I don’t know why it’s not there. I think sometimes we, like I’ve touched on earlier, when we struggle, we want the easy game. When you play good teams it’s not going to be easy.

On what a hard game looks like:

A lot better than that. On the forecheck, finishing checks, working their D, talking in our zone, quick exits, a way better penalty kill, a way better power play, responding the right way, getting mad at yourself for not performing the right way. Lots of stuff.

JOHN TAVARES (15:48 TOI)

On tonight’s loss:

Well, we got dominated in special teams. We just didn’t respond very well at all when we faced some adversity. Our urgency just doesn’t seem to be there consistently. I don’t know what else we need in front of us to motivate us. We’re obviously at a crucial point in our season and time of year. You know, we’ve only got so many games left and we’re fighting hard so we’ve got to determine what we want to do.

More on tonight’s loss and turning things around:

Obviously, the way that special teams went today really put us in a tough spot. When things don’t go our way, we’ve got to find better ways to respond. We just don’t respond very well getting down a goal, getting down two even though the game wasn’t being dominated on either side for either stretch. We did some decent things early and then we seemed to, I don’t know, either get frustrated with the way we’re playing or feel like things aren’t going our way. That’s this time of year, things are going to be hard. You’ve got to find ways to overcome it.

SABRES 5, MAPLE LEAFS 2 — WHAT THEY SAID: "To me it was pretty apparent from about the 10-minute mark of the first period on that we didn't have it today. So, I was frankly I was a little stunned that we had the surge we did to start the third, just because we just didn't seem to have it today. So I was impressed with our team and how we pushed and how we started in that third period. Like I said, we could have been ahead in that game. A penalty goes against us. We didn't like the response there, but it seemed liked we played and defended tired for most of the game and just made life really easy for them." — SHELDON KEEFE.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On tonight’s game:

Well, obviously, for the first 10 minutes the first period, I thought we were fine. Not a lot happening really either way, but I thought we were fine to start the game. It got away on us in the second half of the first and then all through the second period, for the most part we weren’t really even in the building. We regrouped, had a really strong surge to start the third period, put ourselves in the position to tie the game. I thought we had some chances even to take a lead and then got off-kilter there with a penalty call against us and that goes in on us on the penalty kill. We obviously didn’t recover or respond well after that.

On his level of concern with the team handling tonight’s momentum swings:

To me it was pretty apparent from about the 10-minute mark of the first period on that we didn’t have it today. So, I was frankly I was a little stunned that we had the surge we did to start the third, just because we just didn’t seem to have it today. So I was impressed with our team and how we pushed and how we started in that third period. Like I said, we could have been ahead in that game. A penalty goes against us. We didn’t like the response there, but it seemed liked we played and defended tired for most of the game and just made life really easy for them.

On Andersen’s play in goal tonight:

Yeah, probably the one positive I’ll take from the game is Fred was able to get a lot of work today. Our goalies haven’t had a lot of work for quite some time in terms of the shots and chances against. So it’s a chance for Fred to get his confidence and get a lot of pucks, a lot of action and a lot of movement in the puck. Buffalo was really good today. We weren’t good at all, but I was impressed with Buffalo today. They moved with the puck with the skill they have, the depth, all four lines — they didn’t give you any shifts off — all six defence, their goaltender was very strong. We didn’t get a lot of action, but when we did get around the net, we had a lot of really good looks. He was excellent for them to not really let us get any sort of real momentum, but I was impressed by their team today. It was a lot of action for Fred.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (31 SAVES)

On how he felt in tonight’s game:

Yeah, I just tried to focus on what I had to do on my part and obviously, we didn’t come up with the win so disappointing.

On his teammates feeling like they left him out to dry:

I don’t know I think everyone’s going to go through ups and downs, so I didn’t really think about anything I just tried to do my part. That’s all I’ve got to say.

ZACH HYMAN (1 GOAL)

On Buffalo’s three straight goals in the third and playing three games in four nights:

Everyone plays 82 games so 3-in-4 doesn’t matter. They got the momentum there on the power play and they scored two quick ones after that on two mistakes, one of them being mine and that’s it. That’s the game. It’s 5-2 and it’s hard to come back from that.

On what allowed the team to push early in the third:

Well, I think Freddie gave us a chance to win the game and I think we were in the game, down 2-1 going into the third. We were lucky to be down 2-1 going into the third. We came out and started the third strong and then that power play. After that there was a three-minute stretch there where they got three and then the game was over.

JASON SPEZZA (1 ASSIST)

On the momentum swings in the third period:

Yeah, we did a good job to make the push in the third and then they get the power play goal and we give them two more. At that point of the game we’ve got to find a way to drag points out of this. Fred played phenomenal for us and gave us a chance to be in the game and we probably didn’t deserve to be after two periods. These are games you’d like to see us drag points out of.

On the team’s ability to put together a full 60-minute effort:

It’s a tough time of year. Teams are going to take momentum; I don’t think you’re going to get 60 minutes of dominant hockey. You’re going to have to understand that you’ve got to control the momentum swings a little better than we did. You can’t give up three, the other team gets momentum and, for us, it’s being able to halt their momentum and get it back coming our way. It’s a tough time of year, you’ve got to drag points out of games, it’s a lot of hockey in a short period of time. We have to find a way to be better to get more points.

JOHN TAVARES (18:04 TOI)

On tonight’s third period after tying the game:

Yeah, we got ourselves back in it in a game that we probably didn’t deserve to be in. We stuck with it and found a way; Freddie gave us a great chance and then we just make mistakes. Obviously, a great opportunity to grab some points, find a way to get a win and let it get away from us.

More on the third period:

We didn’t execute and they came hard and played hard and we just didn’t match them.

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.

STARS 3, LEAFS 2: WHAT THEY SAID –"They just play a really structured game; they don’t really give you much. They’re a patient team, they wait on their chances. They just all kind of fall inside, they’ve got a good neutral zone and obviously, I think they give up the least amount of chances in the NHL. I think that’s something that you expect, especially if you watch the pre-scout. If you look at all those stats and everything coming into it, it’s tough generate offence and they obviously do a really good job." –AUSTON MATTHEWS.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On what the team learns from playing against Dallas:

I think what we learned is you’re playing against a team that knows how to make it hard on you defensively. You can’t spot them a lead just because you make it even harder. That’s a real tough team to play against when you’re chasing a game. It was the opposite when we were down in Dallas, we played with the lead virtually the whole game, all the way through and they had to open up, so we had lots of chances, lots of good things happening for us. It was a much different hockey game. We spot them the lead here really at the start of every period, spot them goals like, and it’s going to make it real tough.

On his level of concern with the team taking four minor penalties tonight:

Concerned about it. The Marner call, if we were to go back and pull out the video, I think we would could call that penalty 30 times in the game both ways. For some reason, that one was selected. Funny things that happened, I thought we could have been on the power play more than we were, but that’s not the difference in the game.

On Johnsson’s status:

We’ll know more tomorrow, but it’s a knee injury and it’s not going to be short term.

On if the goals against early in periods is a focus issue or the way the game played out:

I think it’s the kind of the way the game went. I thought we started the game pretty well in terms of our ability to have the puck and be in control. We were a little bit casual on the one, don’t get a stick on it and they get in behind us and then it’s in the net. Is it a focus thing? An execution thing? We’ve got to be a lot sharper. We had all the numbers; we were in full control of it. We just need to take care of it.

On how to prevent mixups when the team wants to play fast vs. focus on building up possession:

I think part of it is a symptom of what’s happening in the game. You give a team like them a lead and after that point they’re really not trying to score much. They’re going to be in their structure the entire time. When that’s the case, it’s a real balance. Sometimes you want to go real fast, but you’re going real fast into a wall. So, you want to make sure you’re organized and then you get impatient. To me it’s just a symptom of the way the game goes and it’s going to happen. That’s how they’re trying to play as a team, it’s going to be an issue for us, at times. It’s even harder when a team is going to sit back and play in its structure like they do.

On if he expects to see more defensive play like Dallas as the team gets closer to the postseason:

I think it will depend on who we play. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you flip a switch and do overnight. That team has been committed to it all season, they’re doing that as good or better than anybody in the League. Like I said, it’s a much different hockey game down in Dallas when we get the lead and the game is way different. We spot them a lead here, they’re on the road, that makes it a real hard game. Obviously, I thought Clifford got his fight and the emotion and energy level of the game changed significantly, players responded very well, and we started to come. That didn’t last long enough for us, we didn’t get an even-strength goal. It was a bail bond power play goal we got and then we’re coming, trying to push to start the third and now you’re shorthanded before you know it. They win a faceoff, don’t get an exit and it’s in your net. That’s it. You can’t spot a team like that goals.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (16 SAVES)

On facing Dallas and getting back into game action:

They came pretty hard on those turnovers, but that’s their game. I felt good. I would have liked to come up with a couple of saves early on in those two periods, especially, even in the third. Obviously, would have been nice to come out with a win.

On the challenge of the Stars’ style of play:

They have their structure and they stick to it through the game. Them getting a lead is huge for their style of play and they just try to shut ‘er down and make the best of their opportunities. That’s really what happened today.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL)

On tonight’s loss:

Yeah, they came out really fast. Just a couple of careless plays in both periods and they got behind us there with their speed and their skill and they were able to capitalize. Obviously, that’s an area of concern and something we’d like to clean up because everything is starting to amp up, it’s something that’s extremely important and we’ve been struggling with throughout the year.

On what makes it difficult to score against Dallas:

They just play a really structured game; they don’t really give you much. They’re a patient team, they wait on their chances. They just all kind of fall inside, they’ve got a good neutral zone and obviously, I think they give up the least amount of chances in the NHL. I think that’s something that you expect, especially if you watch the pre-scout. If you look at all those stats and everything coming into it, it’s tough generate offence and they obviously do a really good job.

JAKE MUZZIN (21:10 TOI)

On what the difference in tonight’s game:

They capitalized on a few turnovers and odd man rushes. Once they get the lead, they’re tough to crack. I thought we did a good job of coming back and we had really good spurts, but a few kind of lapses where they capitalized. Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job.

On what the team can take away from playing a team like Dallas:

Yeah, just we’ve got to stay patient, stay with it. We can’t start changing our game plan because we’re getting frustrated or things aren’t working. We’ve got to stick with it and eventually we’ll break through and get our chance.

JOHN TAVARES (1 ASSIST)

On playing against one of the League’s best defensive teams when down a goal:

Yeah, they’re very well structured and don’t mind if it’s a sleepy type of night. They’ve got good depth through all four lines that play extremely hard, very good mobile D that handle pressure really well and have really good sticks whether it’s just closing time and space or closing off shooting lanes. We just tried to stay with it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get it done today.

On if the team got energy from Clifford’s fight in the second period:

Yeah, absolutely, it was a great job by Cliff that provided some good life for us and we got a big goal from Matty. Certainly was a really good spark, got the building into it and we seemed to have a better jump after that.

Production from Hyman, Tavares should let Keefe maintain Leafs’ new Matthews trio — Toronto Sun

The pressure is on, Zach Hyman. Read More

Production from Hyman, Tavares should let Keefe maintain Leafs’ new Matthews trio — Toronto Sun