Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings that improved the Leafs’ record to 17-5-6.
On Nick Robertson’s status and the bad timing of the injury with the opportunity available to him:
He has a shoulder injury. He is going to miss some time — some significant time. I am not sure where we put that, but it is not a short-term thing.
It is a tough break. You feel for the kid. He is a guy who gives everything he has to the game. He had such a great preseason and earned a spot on our team. There was an increased opportunity there for him.
Injuries are tough. We have been going through it a lot with our defense and all of that. It feels a little different when it is a young guy like him. He has had his fair share of his injuries each year that he has played professionally. It is a tough thing for him.
The good thing is that he has bounced back and put in the work to continue to get better.
On the ZAR hit and fight before the 1-0 goal:
I loved the Aston-Reese [moment]. He is a guy who has the ability to make an impact on the game physically. We have talked to him about doing that a little more consistently. He has done that throughout his career.
The opportunity presented itself, and it changed the momentum of the game and injected some energy in the building. It got their team a little bit upset and kind of raised the temperature of the game a little bit.
I really liked how we responded after that. A huge power-play goal, and we didn’t look back after that.
One of the things that stands out tonight and hasn’t necessarily been the case earlier in the season: Some of our depth guys were really scoring goals for us. Engvall, Kampf, and a great play by Holmberg on the Kampf goal. Holmberg made some great plays out there and is just getting better and better every time out.
It is a long list of things to stand out. There is a lot to process in the game tonight. That is a good thing because they are all very positive.
On whether it was the most complete effort of the season:
When you say complete, I think that is a good word. We have been playing really good defensively for quite some time now, but I thought offensively — with how we moved the puck from our backend all the way through the neutral zone, and how we played on offense — we created a lot of looks.
It was a lot harder on us the last time we played these guys out in California. Today, I thought we moved the puck really well. I would have to go back and watch it all, but that first period might have been our best period of the game, and we didn’t score in that one.
I thought the work we did in the first period really showed up in the second. To me, it looked like our opposition was tired. We earned that.
On whether Marner’s shot surprised him on his goal:
He has scored goals like that before, but it was interesting. He was really buzzing, whether it was that shift or the one previous. He was really moving. The crowd started to elevate. At that moment, it was the first time all game that I thought to myself, “Mitch doesn’t have a point yet tonight.” He took care of that.
On the Engvall ejection:
With so much happening here today and so much positivity about the game, I haven’t watched that one back. It is two guys competing and battling. We have all watched Pierre long enough to know he doesn’t play with any intent to injure. I think it is more just a situation with two guys battling. One guy squirmed away, and Pierre got him.
On a second consecutive shutout:
I have felt good about our goaltending for a long time now, but obviously, two shutouts… That is what you are looking for, right? You want to have a clean sheet. You want to be perfect in that way. Everyone leaves feeling great.
We chatted at length this morning about how connected we have been. Our defense has really stepped up and made some great defensive plays. They’ve responded well to adversity.
The forwards have done an incredible job of getting us connected as a five-man group, and the goaltending has been outstanding. It just gives us such confidence.
We didn’t give up a lot tonight, but it looked like if we did, we were going to be fine. It was great.
On whether he wishes it was March already with how the team is playing:
Whether I do or don’t, there is no point in going there and thinking about it. It is not. We have a long road ahead.
It is another practice day tomorrow, and it will be a real light day. To be honest, I was a little uncertain about how we were going to come out here tonight. Coming back from Dallas is a longer road trip. We only played two games. We traveled back yesterday. There is not much of a recovery day for us, and you go right into a game day today.
The guys responded really well. We have to be mindful of it going forward here. We will have a really short practice tomorrow and get ready for Calgary.
On TJ Brodie’s first game back:
I thought he was good. I’d have to watch it back, but he looked like a guy who hadn’t played for quite a while. He was also playing with a new partner. On that note, I thought Timmins was excellent tonight.
It is great to have him back and get him that game. In a perfect world, today would’ve been a practice day, and then we get him ready for Saturday. But we have the injury and all of that. He is cleared medically. You want to get him in the game.
In my mind, it was more of a practice for him in terms of getting the reps and feel. We just don’t have the full practice. Tomorrow is going to amount to a morning skate type of practice for us to get ready for Calgary. He needed to get this in today.