Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s stunning comeback from 3-0 down inside the final four minutes of Game 4.
On what he will remember most about the comeback:
Just the resilience of our team and just how it put new life in our group. It was pretty remarkable to be a part of it.
On how the team can carry the end of the game over to Game 5:
I think we played a good game today. Obviously, we don’t like that we got behind early. It is a much more difficult team to play against when you are behind than when you are even or ahead, of course. They have clearly established that as part of their identity.
It was a tough road for us today, but our guys played really hard. It wasn’t perfect, but our guys played really hard. It was nice to see them get rewarded.
On what the core of the team showed tonight:
Just resilience. They weren’t going to quit. Once we got one and got a little bit of life, they kept pushing. It was really nice and fitting, I think, the way that the goal was scored — the winning goal. Mitch to JT to Auston.
But this was a group effort today. There were a lot of contributions. You look at the play of our fourth line today — they were outstanding. Jason Spezza just did not want our season to end today. He played with that level of urgency. You see the fight. That is just playoff hockey. That is a guy who is just not wanting to go down, literally, without a fight.
It was great. It would’ve been so disappointing, of course, to end the way that it looked like it was going to, but I mean, this is a funny game. Funny, funny game. I think there have been times in this series where we haven’t been rewarded, perhaps, where we should have. We got a little bit of good fortune today as a result of some of our resilience.
I thought we were pretty good in overtime and made good on our power play.
On what the message was to the team in the second intermission:
The second intermission, actually, was pretty good. The first intermission, I think, was one that we had to kind of perk the guys up a little bit and get them going. In the first intermission, I think just with the way the period went, we didn’t get a whole lot. We were down, of course.
In the second intermission, it was actually really positive and I felt good about the group. I don’t know that that necessarily materialized into anything productive on the ice, necessarily. Credit to Columbus for how they play defensively.
As I said, it is crazy the way that it worked out. We’ve got new life here now. We were getting CPR there for a little bit, and we found our way back. Here we go.
On whether he could sense the push was coming in the final four minutes:
I mean, Columbus was doing a terrific job of really clogging things up in the neutral zone. We didn’t have a lot of life going. As coaches, it is our job to get the right people on the ice. Obviously, we had to pull the goaltender a lot earlier than you normally would want to. We just saw it coming out of the TV timeout, and the fact that we needed three goals, and our best guys were fresh… It just made sense.
We found a way to get one in, and suddenly, you get the second one. You’re in a game. It is pretty remarkable. It has been a pretty crazy 24 hours, obviously, with what we have been through here — what we have been through as coaches, players, and staff, and I’m sure fans and media all the way around. It has been a very interesting and unprecedented 24 hours.
It is on us now to regroup and recover here and be ready to go for Sunday.
On what he was thinking at 3-0:
Once they got the third goal, obviously, it is pretty grim. You are obviously in very tough. I was thinking about some of the great efforts that we have had here over the last number of days that I felt were maybe not going to be rewarded. I felt bad about that because I think we have had some individuals who have been really, really great through all of this.
It turns. You get a bounce and it comes, and all of a sudden, you are getting rewarded for that. We’ve got new life, as I said. We are really, really excited to play on Sunday.