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

Sheldon Keefe spoke to the media after his team’s 6-4 come-from-behind win over the New Jersey Devils that improved the Leafs’ record to 28-10-3 on the season.

On whether his team trailing by multiple goals in two straight games is of any concern despite the final results:

It has been a flip of the script here, right? We’ve had leads and had poor third periods, and now we’re playing from behind, having good third periods, and finding ways to get points. Obviously, we’ll take that.

We like that our team has lots of fight in it and keeps pushing. It had confidence in its ability to come back in the game and score enough goals to win. Obviously, the start is not even close to good enough. It is the kind of start where you deserve to lose games when you play like that, start that way, and spot them three.

Fortunately for us, there was enough time for us to chip away at it and push back. I loved our finding a way to tie the game, and when we got the adversity of a late penalty kill, we turned it into a game-winning goal. You love to see that.

On whether the decision to pull Jack Campbell was a reflection of his play or the team’s play to that point in the game:

Mainly the team. The type of chances that we were giving up that early in the game don’t even give your goaltender a chance to get comfortable at all. That is why I took him out when I did. That is why I called a timeout when I did.

In fact, a lot of what we talked about is what we had done to Jack there in not giving him an opportunity to get comfortable in the game and get going. Instead, he is facing high-end shots with guys in alone. That is on us. That is not nearly good enough.

We have a guy who has battled for us all season long and has been our backbone through the first half of the season. For us to start that way for him in this game tonight is not good. That is why I felt we needed a timeout at that time to really just talk about what we had been through to that point, what we had done to Jack, and why we had to make a switch.

Also, we were just talking about the fact that there was lots of game left and we needed to get our game in order and start playing. I had confidence we would be able to score more than three tonight, but we obviously had to play a lot better with how we were managing the puck in our own end.

On the increase in goals against for Jack Campbell of late:

We have talked about it before. Jack hasn’t played to the same level that he has established for himself, but our team has not played to the same level in front of him. It is not nearly good enough. We have a goaltender who has been the backbone of our team. He is trying to get back in that groove here.

It has been a much different routine and different rhythm for him. We went from playing basically every other night through the first 30-35 games up until Christmas. Since then, there hasn’t been a lot of games. The rhythm has been really disrupted. He has had lots of rest; lots of time in between games. He is trying to find his game. He will find his game.

Our guys have got to help him out. We have just not done that. That is disappointing.

On whether the plan changes in net for tomorrow night’s rematch:

We will talk about it on the plane tonight. We probably won’t make a decision until tomorrow morning on it. I have to check in with both our goalies, see where they are at, and make a decision from there.

On Petr Mrazek’s play after coming into the game cold:

I thought he battled hard. He made a couple of really good saves shortly after going in where he stood tall. Guys had clear shots on him, and he stood tall. I really liked that. He battled.

He let in the one, which I don’t think he had much of an opportunity on with that shot in the slot; Brodie blocked it and it fell right to their guy. Aside from that, he gave us a chance to win the game. He didn’t let it get beyond that one, which keeps us in striking distance. That is what we needed.

On Mitch Marner’s goal-scoring streak:

He has confidence offensively in and around the net. He is a guy who has the puck a lot. We know he is a facilitator who distributes to others, but he is finding ways to get pucks in really good places for himself and making good on it.

It is huge for him and huge for us. It is great to see him put together a streak like this. It is what he has the capability of doing: getting hot and scoring big goals for us. It was a huge goal tonight. It is a great finish.

I thought he and his line — Auston had a big night — again carried the mail for us in a lot of ways to help get us to even. I thought we had some good efforts from all of our lines throughout once we really got our game going in the third.

It was just a huge effort on the penalty kill by everybody involved — in particular, Kerfoot and Mikheyev for that play. To turn a late penalty kill into a game-winning goal is huge.