Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-0 win over the Dallas Stars that improved the Leafs’ record to 16-5-6.
On Matt Murray’s performance:
He was perfect. He was perfect on the scoresheet. He was perfect in the game. He came up with huge saves in big moments. Obviously, with the number of penalties we took today, it could have been a real problem for us.
Murr was really solid. That 5-on-3 was incredible. He was outstanding. Happy for him.
On the 5-on-3 kill late in the second period after Marner broke his stick:
You are hoping they are going to take a shot so that our goalie can freeze it and we can reset. With the number of penalties we were taking there, we were asking for trouble. I can’t say enough about how our guys competed.
Mitch has no stick and is doing all he can to help us. Our defensemen back there — not only did we have to kill a 5-on-3, but Gio and Hollsy are in the box. Sandin and Lily were out there, and to me, those guys had an incredible game. Those two guys took on a lot here tonight and were really, really good.
On Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren stepping up during this recent stretch:
You learn a lot about their character. The team needs them to step up in a big way. They have done exactly that. Those guys played hard today. They played a lot of minutes tired, too. We were down to five defensemen, and one is Conor Timmins, who is playing his first game with us and is not taking on a whole lot. A lot is falling on those two guys.
We have come to expect Gio and Holl to do a really good job for us, but those two really stepped up for us today. They played hard. They moved the puck well. They were physical and competitive. They were doing a lot of it on half a tank or at the bottom of their tank. Impressive.
On Mitch Marner becoming just the fourth active player to reach 20 games in a point streak:
It speaks to how rare an accomplishment it is and how proud he should be of it. There is a lot that goes into something like that.
He gets on the board early and contributes to that first goal to get us a lead in the game, and then he is called on to play some really difficult minutes with all of the penalties we took tonight. He was outstanding in that way, too.
I thought that line was really good all night, and Mitch was certainly a driver of it.
On Semyon Der-Arguchintsev and Conor Timmins’ Leafs debuts:
Tough games to really evaluate them in. There were long stretches between their shifts.
I thought Timmins, in particular, got better as the game wore on and the more reps he got. He is a very smart guy with the puck. I thought he moved it very efficiently. He made a real good defensive play in the third period where Benn was coming in with a ton of speed and he got in the way and slowed him up. That was really good to see. I am happy with his performance.
With SDA, I liked the defensive play on his first shift protecting the net and breaking up a play. Aside from that, there wasn’t a whole lot happening. Tough day to play your first NHL game where you are sitting for long periods of time watching special teams.
On the team’s 12 game points streak and the keys to success during the run:
Just the resilience, I would say. The resilience of our group and goaltending.
Goaltending has been really good in giving us a chance when we have been overwhelmed at times. With our injuries, you are expecting that is going to happen at times. We need big plays from our guys, whether that is the goalies or our game-breakers on forward.
It’s the resilience of our group and how they have defended when they need to and come up with big goals at key times when we need to. Our first period was not good here today, but we got our chances and made good on them, so that is big.
If you look at the power-play goal we scored in the third period in Tampa when we really needed a power-play goal, those guys went and got it for us to make sure we got a point.
It’s just the resilience, as I reflect on this stretch I have been through. It speaks a lot to the character and growth of the group. We have relied on guys, especially on defense, to play in spots that they hadn’t in a lot of cases, whether it is Sandin-Liljegren or Mete-Hollowell, or Timmins tonight.
It’s a really good sign and very healthy for our team.
On Victor Mete’s status after leaving the game injured:
He is going to miss some time. We don’t think it is going to be anything too serious, but I certainly don’t expect him to be available for us for the rest of the week.