Sheldon Keefe spoke to the media after the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 win over the St.Louis Blues and talked about Auston Matthews’ two goals, the team’s play defensively and Pontus Aberg’s first game with the Leafs:
On Auston Matthews’ two goals and his performance tonight:
It’s got to feel good for him. Like I said, I didn’t think about it one second. I had full confidence it was going to fall in for him — he’s too good of a player for it not too and he was getting too many chances for it not to go in. It’s just the ebbs and flows of a season. A lot of little things he’s been doing really well and he got rewarded for it today.
On the Maple Leafs‘ play without the puck:
I thought, at times, really good, but other times not as good. They’ll be a lot of examples in this game of things that we can do better. I thought the Colorado game was better for us in that regard all the way through. We didn’t get rewarded offensively in that game. Some of the bounces went our way [tonight], I thought it was us getting the reward for last game a bit. There were some things we could’ve done better away from the puck, managing the game when we had the lead, all those things. Playing against a team such as this, they’re going to make it hard on you to push back — I’d like to see us handle that a little bit better at the start of the second and third.
On getting players back from injury the last few weeks:
It makes us a deeper team, it makes us a more dangerous team. The ability to move things around a little bit, the ability to have even more weapons on that first powerplay unit, it makes us a better team obviously. Those are important people, they’re difference makers. When we have them all in the lineup it gives us an advantage for sure.
On calling the early timeout in the third period:
It wasn’t anything that I saw. I wish I could have called one early in the second period but we couldn’t get a whistle. When we finally did [have a chance] it was a penalty kill, so I kind of just let it slide. In the third, we were talking about trying to play the period in the offensive zone and trying to win shifts and we weren’t doing that. When they scored, it was a chance to just stall the momentum a little bit and also just a chance for me to talk to the team and reflect on how we had started and the fact that we wanted to be better.
On Dermott’s fight:
Dermy’s a competitive guy and he’s standing up for himself there. It’s going to happen periodically throughout a game, it’s nothing that I think much about.
On Pontus Aberg’s debut
I don’t think one game is quite enough [to make conclusions], nor do I think it was the type of game where you really get a proper sense. I did think there were moments in the game where he did good things — whether it’s him tracking, skating back to our end or skating onto a puck or making a play. It was a good game for him to get his feet wet. In terms of what we’ll do going forward, we’re not quite sure but we’ve got some time to sort that out.