Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 11-2-1 on the season.
On Ilya Mikheyev breaking through with a goal:
I feel great for him, first of all. He has worked extremely hard — not just in our games, where he’s had a ton of chances and has really worked along with good defensive play. He continues to work on his game in practices and off-days and development days. It is nice to see him get rewarded for sure. You like to see that.
On the team finding a way in the third period:
We were really trying to put at the forefront the fact that it is an important game we want to find a way to the right side of. We pushed our guys to have a real good start to the period. I thought we had played a fine game. I didn’t think we had any real strong pushes. We wanted that. I thought we got it.
With a little extra jump to start the third period, we caught them on their heels a little bit. We attacked a lot quicker in transition. All of those things kind of helped us.
I thought we were really good defensively as well. Even when they got the puck at the start of the third, we came back and helped the transition, which was a big part of it. Obviously, Justin Holl’s slapper had a lot to do with it, too.
On whether he knew that Dermott and Holl had those shots in their toolboxes:
Of course. No doubt. They only pull it out when it counts the most.
On Frederik Andersen’s performance:
I thought he was good. Obviously, he wants to have the first shot back. It took him a little bit to get going, as it did our team. But he was solid after that. A lot of shots were coming from the point and the walls. A lot of the stuff gets thrown in with a lot of traffic. It makes it more challenging against this team.
At the same time, like we have been talking about all offseason and all throughout camp, our job, as a team, is to help Fred out and do a job in front of him. I thought we did that today.
There are a lot of things we would like to do better so we can control play a little bit better like we did at the start of the third period. Again, defensively, we didn’t give them much at all. In fact, I had this as the lowest number of scoring chances we gave up in a game all season. Despite some of the volume, I thought our guys did a really good job of protecting the middle of the ice and not giving anything up odd-man.
On the first goal, they got in behind us a little bit at the start of the game, but that was really it. They never really got behind us again off the rush. Those are some of the things we talked about as keys for the game coming in. I thought our players stuck with it and Fred was solid for us.
On Holl cleanly ripping one by Price:
With both him and Derms’, in both cases, the defenders and the goaltender probably aren’t expecting them to shoot like that and take them on. Not often are you going to beat Carey Price with a clean shot like that, but obviously, they did. Two great shots into the top of the net. Massive goals for us.