Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game
Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s come-from-behind 3-2 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks that improved the Leafs’ record to 3-4-1 on the season.


On finding a way to come back from 2-0 down and finish the road trip with a win:

Our guys have been through a lot on this road trip. A lot of it is self-inflicted. Mentally, it has been a lot. To get two points going home feels good for sure. We know there are a lot of things that we need to clean up and do a lot better than tonight, but the fact that we, at the end of the road trip with the way things have gone, fought and got a great goal from Kampf — that line was really working to get us that goal — and then found a way to get the second point, it is big for us going home.

On how concerning the 2-0 deficit was after the first period:

You are concerned for sure. It is not the way we wanted it to go. We talked a ton about protecting our goaltender and making it hard to get to our net. They scored two goals where they were in alone on our goalie. That has to stop. We can’t allow those.

We gave up a bunch more later in the game. There were a number of times where we were just flat-out getting beat. On the second one here tonight, it was an egregious line change at the end of a very long shift in our own end. Those things happen sometimes, but our situational awareness in that moment has to be a lot better.

While our offense is standing finding its way, those little details put us in holes. That can’t happen.

On whether anything was said among the group after the first intermission:

I am a good distance away from the players at the intermission, but we have a number of guys who are vocal at the intermission and do a lot of talking. We are at the point now where, as a coaching staff, we have done a lot of talking. We have addressed a lot of things with the team. In a lot of cases, you are better served when the players are taking it upon themselves to deal with things, talk about it, and reinforce the coach’s message.

I did catch wind of some of the stuff happening there as I was making my way back towards the room. I think that is an encouraging sign. It shows us our guys care. They haven’t given up on each other or anything like that. They are just pushing. They want to get this right.

On the performance of the Tavares and Marner line:

I thought they had good energy and made plays. That goal that they scored on the rush is the kind of play we need more of. We haven’t had a lot of opportunities to make those types of plays. Give credit to a lot of the teams we have been playing against, they have done a really good job of eliminating those types of rush opportunities for us. We have to find ways to generate more of them.

The window opened for a little bit there for us, and when it does, I think our players are good enough that those plays are going to get made. It was a great play by Morgan, first of all, to get up there and create that, Mitch did what he does finding John, and then it was just a world-class finish by him. That is a huge goal by us. The Kampf goal was huge. Good on Willy to get it done in overtime.

On Marner maintaining a happy-go-lucky attitude despite his slump:

That is a big part of who Mitch is — that personality that he has, the energy that he has. He brings a lot not only for his own game to be out there and feeling free and flowing but also for our team. He brings a lot of energy and helps guys relax. That is a lot of what he and I have talked about as he has gone through this: trying to find ways to connect with his personality and allow it to come out.

That has been really nice to see here. Mitch wants to play better and to produce. He knows he is a difference maker for the team. He has high expectations for himself. He is a big leader on our team as well. He has not let his individual situation affect his energy and the things he needs to bring around the team. I think that is big, and a huge step towards the on-ice piece of it coming together.

On playing a game in Chicago in the wake of the shocking revelations from the sexual assault lawsuit, and how it felt in the city:

In terms of how it felt in terms of the hockey, it felt like a regular day in that sense. Yesterday was a very dark day for hockey. A lot of things were coming to light.

The courage that Kyle Beach showed today in stepping up and being a voice for people and other victims is incredibly brave. That only helps make our game better in ensuring these things don’t happen, and in the world and society in general. It is much too late here, but certainly, the hockey world has given its support to Kyle.

On Jack Campbell keeping the game in reach throughout the comeback:

It was massive. We can’t let that deficit grow. We gave up too many chances. In the third period, we got some help at different times with the posts and whatnot.

Jack battles. We know that. We’ve come to expect him to be there for us. For him to have two go by him in the first period and then make sure the third one doesn’t go in on us, it gives us a chance.

As a team, we should be consistently scoring three or more a night. If the goalie can keep us below three that we are giving up, we should win most games. Jack did his job.