Sheldon Keefe spoke to the media following Saturday’s OT win over the Ottawa Senators that improved the Leafs’ record to 28-17-7 on the season.
On the overall performance:
I thought we stayed with it. We thought it was going to be a very hard game and it was. They played extremely hard, credit to them. Credit to the plan they put in place. Credit to how they stayed with it. Credit to how they came here on a back to back game for them. It was clear this game was important to their group and how they played. It was important to us as well — I thought we stayed with it. It wasn’t an easy day for us — ultimately, we made sure to get it to one point, and then overtime, being what it is, was a bit of an adventure. Our special teams, both in overtime and in regulation, were very good so hats off to them and hats off to Dave Hakstol and Paul MacFarland and the work they did in our timeouts to get the team set.
On why Kasperi Kapanen was scratched tonight:
Internal accountability is really what it is. You guys will get a chance to talk to him when we get together on Monday.
We had chatted a bit yesterday and then wanted to sleep on it. We talked with Kappy this morning and made a decision and went from there.
On Jason Spezza’s opportunity with Kapanen out:
I thought he was excellent. He had a little extra jump here today. It was a big goal that he scored — he got an opportunity there and it was clear he wasn’t going to miss that one. He had a lot of chances. He had a lot of jump and we were really happy with how he responded to that opporunity.
On Michael Hutchinson’s performance:
Yeah, I’d say he was sharp, confident. We had breakdowns today and he was there. Even sometimes when they had a couple looks, whether it was getting one behind us on a breakaway or a 2-on-1, he was out in the top of his crease, confident and aggressive. He just looked like he was out there to get a win for us. That’s what we want to see.
On if the team is looking at the standings after the Panthers’ loss tonight:
There’s a lot of hockey to be played so I think it’s a little early for us to be focused much on what’s happening outside of our building. They’re going to be coming in here on Monday. We certainly didn’t like the way we played against them last time and the result we got there, so we have to do a whole lot better on Monday.
On Mitch Marner’s choice to shoot on the 4-on-3 in OT and what it says about his creativity:
It says a lot. It was also part of the plan that we put in place. We knew that they were going to make things pretty hard on our shooters with Willy and Matty on the sides — we thought there might be a lane there, whether it was for Mitch to shoot or to look for John at the bottom. He sensed the lane and made good on it.