Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames which improved the Leafs’ record to 38-16-8.
On the team’s response coming off of a 5-2 loss to Edmonton:
I thought that we stuck around in the game. Early in the game for us, there was not a whole lot of offense available at all. Guys didn’t get frustrated and stayed with it. I thought our game and process of how we were playing improved through the second period seemingly shift by shift.
Ultimately, we scored a goal in the second period off of a great shift in the offensive zone with an offensive zone change. Matthews and Marner came over the boards playing against tired people with a favourable matchup. We tied the game.
You can’t really put your finger on why, but we came out in the third period really focused and committed. To me, it was our best third period of the season to get out, get the goal to get the lead, and just how we defended was exceptional.
On Joe Woll’s performance:
Tight game, no margin for error, and he has to face a breakaway early. It didn’t faze him the rest of the way. I thought he was excellent — poised, relaxed, and he got us through the tough times in the second period. I thought the guys took care of him in the third, but he was excellent. He looked extremely confident in there.
On the team’s third period:
I thought we defended really hard. All of a sudden, the game started to really open us for us because of how we defended. We started to get plays in transition. We started to get more time on the rush. We started to get in behind them.
Guys defended really hard. Once we had the lead, I thought we just protected our net well. Looking at some of the plays where we advanced pucks, we took some real hard hits tonight in that third period to advance the play.
That is what it takes. Acciari and Lafferty were two players who stood out to me for really contesting pucks on the wall to get those out. That is what it takes to win. That is why you acquire those guys. The puck is in question on the wall, you know you are going to take a big hit, and the puck advances. It gets out.
Those are the kinds of things that help you win. I thought O’Reilly was a clinic in the third period in terms of taking care of the game and helping us get the win.
The support of those guys and the guys we have come to rely on… They just bought in. We didn’t have four complete lines, but with how we were rolling, everyone was on board. The defense was very solid.
On Luke Schenn’s debut:
I thought he was great. It is tough circumstances for both him and Gus coming in. I thought he was good. He moved the puck efficiently up the ice.
He is just so strong around our net pushing people around. I don’t know if there is any clearer example of how strong he is than seeing Lucic bounce off of him like that. Not many guys are doing that to a guy like Lucic. He is definitely a presence like that and just a terrific guy.