Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 16-4-2 on the season.
On the team picking up two wins in a row with backup goaltenders in net:
It is huge for us. It is showing our goaltending depth that we knew we had coming in. We feel like we made big improvements in that area, whether it was Hutchinson in the starts he has given us or Campbell coming in here today. In such a big game, to give us that type of response is huge.
On Campbell’s performance:
Really good. He looked extremely confident. We had some breakdowns, especially in the first period. We had some real tough turnovers there off of our breakouts in the middle of the ice. He was real solid for us.
As the game really settled in, especially once we got our power-play goal, I thought our team defended really well and made his life easier, which is what we needed. We had a guy coming off of injury and playing against a high-powered offensive team. You need to play well as a team defensively.
I don’t know if we gave up an odd-man rush the entire night. We took away one of the strengths of their game that way. We kept a lot of shots to the outside — a lot of point shots.
Certainly, when there were breakdowns, he looked solid and extremely confident. The guys played hard for him right to the end. They love him as a teammate, and you could see that in terms of how the guys were talking on the bench and how they went out onto the ice and made sure they did a good job for him.
On the team keeping a lid on McDavid and Draisaitl:
Obviously, everything really came up Leafs here tonight. Power play gets one, and we don’t take any penalties. We were able to do a good job and not give anything easy for their top guys. That was really good.
We scored a goal in each period. We got three goals from three different lines at even strength. Great goaltending. Power play is perfect. Penalty kill is perfect in that it didn’t have to work today. That is a really good thing for us.
It is a real good win for us today. We will enjoy it tonight. We will brush it off when we wake up tomorrow morning, have a good practice, and be ready for what will certainly be a much better Edmonton team the next time out.
On Tavares’ performance on a line with Thornton and Marner:
I thought the line was very good. It obviously scored us a really important goal. It gave us a lot of really good shifts. There was good chemistry between the three of them. I thought they defended really well.
John has not gotten enough credit for how he has defended throughout the season. His efforts defensively have been a real big part of our success as a team. You ask a lot of him tonight taking on even more matchups and tougher matchups against their best players. I thought he was outstanding. He was above the puck all night long. I don’t know how many shots he ended up with, but he had his own opportunities to score.
I look at the power-play goal and the effort that John put in on that. He had a great net drive and play off of the Mitch goal. Defensively, he was rock solid. It was a terrific night for him. Defensively, he has been that consistently throughout the season.
He filled that spot on that line very well here tonight. It is a big part of the win.
On whether anything needs to be said to the team about raising its game when Auston Matthews it out:
It is the kind of thing that goes without saying. The expectation when you lose a guy like that is that you are essentially taking a goal away from your lineup. You are expecting to score one less. If you are going to score one less, you have to make sure you give up one less.
The players recognize that. We don’t talk about it as directly as that, but we did certainly talk about players stepping up and playing a really sound team game today. Whether Auston is in or out, to beat an Edmonton team that’s rolling the way they are and playing as confidently as they are, we had to play a really sound team game shift to shift.
At times, we had breakdowns for sure. There are definitely things we will be able to work at tomorrow in practice to clean up for next game, but for the most part, I thought we had four lines and six defensemen and a goaltender that were really on the same page here tonight.