Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators that improved the Leafs’ record to 21-10-2 on the season.
On the team persevering past a stubborn Senators team:
Overtime, obviously, is a whole separate deal. Anything can happen in the overtime, as you saw. In terms of the 60 minutes, it was a game where we had a ton of opportunities early in the hockey game. We were in alone. We had power-play opportunities. We didn’t make good on those chances. We let a team hang around. We didn’t score enough goals to break the game open or have any sort of separation.
It plays right into their hands that way. Obviously, I liked the way we stuck with it and found a way to get a lead. I didn’t like that we gave it up, but it was a big point for us to get it to go to overtime and give us a chance at the second one.
On Justin Holl being a go-to guy in OT:
The biggest thing, really, is just the way that he skates. He can get back on pucks. He can transition, join the rush, and get up in the attack. We like to have a defender out there. With his skating ability, he has the ability to transition both ways, which is a really important asset to have in overtime.
On Spezza’s three goals in three games:
Lots of confidence. He is feeling it. He is shooting the puck. He is hanging onto it in the offensive zone. He was one of the only guys who was winning faceoffs here today, which earns him more ice time. We were really struggling in the faceoff circle tonight — Auston and John, in particular. That encouraged me to give Spezz some more opportunities to take faceoffs and get his line out there in the offensive zone.
It wasn’t just that one that went in for them. They had some good shifts and sequences coming out of o-zone faceoffs earlier in the game, too. It’s really important. Right now, our top guys are fighting it around the net a little bit and it isn’t falling for them. We need to get those goals from other guys. To get one from that line and another from Mikheyev and that line is very important for us.
On Auston Matthews’ defensive play to set up the OT goal:
I don’t even like to comment much on overtime. It’s such chaos. But it certainly was a big play. He is tired at that point in time.
I thought through 60 minutes, he also had the puck a lot and had some chances again here today. He was around the net. He had some backside looks. Again, the puck is just not going in for him. I like that he is staying with it and isn’t sacrificing other areas while he is searching for that goal.
On Jack Campbell’s handling of the puck on the two Senators goals:
He has to play it. In both instances, he probably wants to make a more assertive play with it. We talk about these situations a lot as a team.
The first one, he has the puck behind the net and we skate at him. That is the number one rule when the goalie has the puck: You can’t skate at the goalie. You have to get open and give him somebody to pass it to. We handcuffed him and gave him nowhere to go with it. We put him in a really tough spot.
On the second one, if he doesn’t come out to play that, they probably have a wide-open look at our net with all of the speed they had coming at him.
I don’t fault him on those. He made the right decisions to come out and play them. The fact that he hasn’t played much and isn’t in those situations a lot probably shows in those instances. But there is a lot more happening there where our players have to do a better job to help him out.