Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 2-1 win in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.


On whether Jack Campbell will start again tomorrow night:

We’ll see. We’ll make a decision in the morning. We will see how it goes from there.

It will just be about how Jack feels — both in healh and energy.

On how the team closed out the third period in a 2-1 game:

We don’t like defending as much as we did, but our guys defended very hard. The guys competed. It was a tough period. They were coming at us real hard. I’d like to see us relax and make a few more plays so we can settle the game down, but it is a very important game. It is a very important period. I thought our guys battled hard. Of course, our goalie was our best player.

On William Nylander elevating his performance level through three playoff games:

To me, he is competing a lot harder. He is really engaged. With that, the offense comes. Obviously, it’s a huge goal he scores for us here today. I think I was most impressed with how in the third period, he battled his ass off along the wall, won a battle, got a puck out for us, and created a 2-on-1 for one of our better looks of the period. We had a few good looks in the period and didn’t end up getting a shot.

That type of effort there had him called to go out with the goalie out. That speaks to the confidence he is gaining and the trust that he is gaining — not just from me but from his teammates as well. He is playing a real nice, complete game here. It is obviously huge for us.

Despite losing Tavares and Foligno — two guys who he started out with on a line — he has just continued on. He has produced, played hard, and given us real good shifts.

On what has made Morgan Rielly so effective in this series:

In terms of playoff performances, I remember back in the Columbus series, I thought he really skated and really worked. He played with a great deal of authority with and without the puck. We are seeing that again here. He has really raised his game. He is competitive, physical, and is playing with authority.

In a quiet rink like this, you can hear him call for the puck all over the ice and helping out his teammates, letting them know when he is available. They’re finding him. A huge goal today. He is also just competing really hard. He has been excellent.

On the amount of notice Alex Kerfoot had about moving up the lineup and his performance tonight while stepping up with Nick Foligno out:

The notice he would’ve had would’ve been basically been the time from warmups to puck drop. I thought he handled it very well. This is two really good games here now in a row for Kerfoot in these playoffs. That is a huge sign for us.

No matter what we have asked him to do — play wing, play center, play up, play down, power play, penalty kill — he has been really good for us. He is a guy who has really stepped up his game, given us a lot of really good minutes, and taken on a lot of responsibility.

On Nick Foligno’s status:

We thought he was going to be okay. He obviously didn’t skate this morning. They were working on him. He felt he was going to be okay. Just getting on the ice, he didn’t feel like he would be able to get through it. Ultimately, we just thought he would be hurting the team. We made the decision to give him the night off here tonight and get Nash in.

He is day-to-day here. I don’t know what his status will be for tomorrow. I suspect it will be a game-time decision.

On the team receiving seven points from the defense in the three games so far:

We need contributions from everyone. That is really important. Through a lot of the season, we didn’t necessarily get that. The forwards carried a lot of the load offensively. But our defensemen have been involved.

It also just speaks to playoff hockey. It is a little bit different, the way you are generating offense. You are whipping a lot more pucks at the net and you are trying to find ways to generate things. Breaks, bounces, and things like that tend to go your way. You get a little more engaged that way.

It is still early here, but we have liked their contributions. Mainly, we have just liked how they have defended as a group and how they have moved the puck out of their end. That has been the biggest positive for us.