Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins which dropped the Leafs’ record to 46-21-11.
On the quality of the team’s performance despite the OT loss:
I thought our guys played incredibly hard. It took us a little bit to adjust to the opponent. It is a much different game than we have played of late — certainly than we played last game.
I thought our guys played real hard.
On the consistent impact the fourth line has been making:
Those guys have been excellent for a number of games now. They’re playing hard. They’re fast. They’re strong defensively. They are scoring for us, as they did here tonight in a game in which it was extremely hard to generate any sort of offense either way.
They have been great.
On the identity the fourth line is building:
It’s the pressure on the puck. It’s playing smart. It’s playing connected as a group of three. They are advancing the puck and putting pressure on the opponent. They’re getting the puck to the net and getting rewarded for it.
When it is time to defend, they are great defenders. They’ve earned the confidence of the coach that when they are out there, they are going to either do good things or not allow anything bad to happen.
They’ve really come together here over the last number of games. We can see that momentum continuing.
On Sam Lafferty’s strong play of late:
He was excellent tonight. He is skating with the puck, but he is putting pressure on the opposition. He was physical tonight. He draws a fight which draws a power play for us. He scored a huge goal. You can’t ask for much more than what those guys are bringing for us now.
On Ryan O’Reilly’s first game back:
He was great. Against an opponent like that tonight, you need to have playoff-like habits. Whether it is his first game or not, he just comes in and plays the game with the same intelligence. He put the puck to good spots. He was good on the battle.
He was really good today. I thought his minutes were a little low in the first period, so I tried to get them up a little bit higher. We don’t have a lot of time to get him back up to speed in terms of conditioning. I tried to double him up and get him back out there.
I thought he dealt with all of it well. It is great to have him.
On ROR’s presence on the bench:
He is the most vocal guy we have on the bench. He is talking non-stop. It is just a great presence for us. It makes a big difference having him in there.
On Ilya Samsonov’s performance:
He was solid. Very solid.
There was not a lot of offense to go around for either team tonight. Both teams defended incredibly hard.
He was solid. He didn’t let anything in that he shouldn’t. In games like this, that is what you are asking for.
On the team locking in second place in the Atlantic with home-ice advantage:
It is another checkpoint, if you will, as we’ve talked about when you clinch a playoff spot. It is an accomplishment along the way. It feels good.
There is still runway left.You’re in a position to [get home ice] in a very competitive division. Tonight is a big point on the road for us against a very good team in a building where it is extremely difficult to come away with anything.
It is a good night for us.