Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins that improved the Leafs’ record to 9-5-3.
On whether it was the team’s most complete effort of the season:
I don’t know. We have played some good games before. It is a good road game for us here.
A really good first period, I thought. The guys executed very well, in the first period, all of the areas that we addressed and wanted to be better at in terms of how we defend versus what we did last time we saw these guys. We scored two big goals and got off to a great start to the period.
It could’ve been 4-0 for us, and then they turned around, and one went in off a leg. At 3-1, it changes the game. Murray made some saves. We survived that a little bit there. We just kept playing from there.
Pretty solid effort for our guys all around.
On Matt Murray’s performance in his first game back from injury and first-ever game in Pittsburgh as a member of the opposition:
Especially in the third period, their power play comes to mind — they had some really good looks and opportunities that were really close to the bench and we got a really good view of the sightlines of the puck. There were times when we looked pretty vulnerable. They had some really good shooters with good shooting lanes. It didn’t look like Matt was able to see the puck, and he was able to find it, track it really well, and make a save.
I thought he was just really solid and calm. Especially when our team played well in front of him, any time there was any sort of activity or action around the net, it didn’t look like it was coming close to going in.
I thought he just did his job for us. He kept them at two. It gave our group confidence through that flurry.
On how confident he feels about his goaltending depth overall with Murray and Ilya Samsonov returning to health:
Matt had an outstanding preseason for us and was trending really well. He played one game in Montreal in which our team was terrible in front of him, and then he got hurt. He hasn’t had much of an opportunity to go here, but I have been impressed with Matt since the day he arrived in our facility. For him to be back healthy, get a chance to play, and to get a win for him in which he played a huge role, that is great to see.
Our goaltending has been pretty strong all the way through the season. When our team defense has been good in front of them, those guys have always given us a chance to win every night. That continued tonight with Matt.
I am certainly happy with our depth there for sure.
On what Jordie Benn has been able to bring to the team in such a short span of time:
I think his personality is the big one. It is not often you can add a depth defenseman like that to come in when you have injuries, have him step right in, and bring life to your room and bench.
That is part of who he is. It is a big part of his career. It allows him to just step into situations despite not playing a lot this season with the injury that he had to go through. He spent some time with the Marlies, but he hasn’t been around our group a lot. He steps right in, and he is comfortable and confident to play as much as you need him to.
He has given us really good minutes. He was a very important add for us in the offseason.
On Benn’s goal line stop on Sidney Crosby:
I was glad it went our way. You don’t want to see those pucks lying around like that, but credit to him for staying with it and finding a way to keep it out.
On Michael Bunting’s two-goal, three-point night:
I thought it was Bunts’ best game of the season today in terms of how he held onto pucks, battled, and competed. The goals, of course, are really great, but those are ones that will generally come when he plays like he did tonight. He was really good.
I thought all four lines gave us really good moments here today. It was good to see Bunts come through, but Mitch and John got two big goals for us in the first period that got us going in the game. I thought we got really good efforts throughout the lineup.