Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 6-0 win over the Detriot Red Wings on Wednesday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 12-10-4 on the season and 3-0-0 under their new head coach.
On the team’s performance:
We really like how we started the game. We came out, won the faceoff, went down the ice, and spent time down there right from the get-go. It’s just something we wanted to do. In doing so in that process, we got the puck to bounce our way a little bit early in the game and got a hold of it.
I didn’t like the second half of the first period, but the nature of the game being what it was… Up 3-0, the long break, the goaltender switch and all of that kind of stuff — we didn’t respond well to that. Again, to start the second period, we just came right at them again. We liked that.
On how the team played with the lead as compared to the Colorado game:
Two different games, but we did talk about that. We want to be a team that plays with the lead and we need to learn how to play with the lead and be comfortable with the lead. I thought we did a good job of that today.
On the Red Wings needing to call down an under-the-weather Jonathan Bernier from the press box to switch goalies when Jimmy Howard went down hurt:
The referees were great in talking to us. We had a bit of an indication prior to the game as well that there were some issues there with Bernier, so we kind of had a sense of what was going on. Obviously, we had to be patient with it.
On John Tavares’ play since Keefe arrived as head coach:
He’s certainly played very well. As far as I’m concerned, in the games I’ve been here, he’s done a really good job for us — not just offensively with the puck and keeping his line in the offensive zone, but he’s done a good job playing against the other team’s best guys. Defensively, he’s been very good in the faceoff circle and all of those sorts of things. We’ve really liked him.
On the fourth line’s shift leading to the Tyson Barrie goal:
They carried that throughout the game. They played more in the second and third. We started to just roll four lines at that point. That line gave us a lot of really good shifts.
On William Nylander’s recent play:
He’s been really good. We’ve had the puck a lot here in the games recently. That, of course, benefits a player like Willy for sure. He’s been really good. Both he and Auston both are getting pucks back a lot. They have the puck and as soon as the other team gets it, they’re getting it back. They’ve got really good sticks and they seem to strip the puck from the opposition pretty easily at times and it keeps them on offense. They’ve been really good.
On whether it’s a case of more determination lately from the Matthews-Nylander duo:
It’s part determination, part skill, part the fact that they are constantly in motion. They are coming down on pucks a lot more than they were previously. That is giving them an advantage in that sense. They’re also just staying with it and they’re hungry.
On being 3-0 as head coach:
It’s better than the alternative. We’ve felt good about how things have gone. The players have responded beautifully. They’ve played extremely well and certainly deserve all the credit here.