Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings which improved the team’s record to 9-5-2.
On the team’s come-from-behind effort:
We saved our energy and our legs. We didn’t have a whole lot going on in the first two periods in terms of pace, tempo, and all of that kind of stuff. We found it in the third period for sure and gave ourselves a chance. I felt strongly that if we scored the next goal, we would have a real good opportunity. That is the way it worked out.
On Mats Sundin addressing the players in the room before the game:
We talked about it last night at dinner. We thought it was a good opportunity to let him have that moment. We thought it was impactful as well with the group.
The connection with Sweden and Swedes is strong with the Maple Leafs. To have Mats address the group was really important and a good opportunity to… It is a small token, but it gives him that moment, too.
There are some younger guys in the group, but everyone knows Mats Sundin and who he is. Whether it is the Swedish connection or Max [Domi], there are strong connections there between the team, Mats, and Borje Salming as well. It was a very fitting thing and quite an obvious thing to do.
On whether his appreciation for the Maple Leafs‘ connection to Sweden is greater through the experience of the Global Series trip:
Just seeing the blue jerseys in the crowd… I am sure there are some people who have come in from Toronto, but I think a lot of those are Swedes.
You guys might know better than me, but I spent a good 7-8 hours walking around the city yesterday on our day off. I saw lots of fans from other teams around the league that had clearly traveled over here. I didn’t see a lot of Leafs fans, and yet there were a lot of blue jerseys out there tonight.
That gives you a sense and a perspective on folks like Salming, Sundin, and those who have come before our current crop. From that end, it is tremendous.
I was thrilled — not surprised, but thrilled — to see the Salming patch on the shoulder tonight. That was a really nice token of the legacy of Borje and what he means to the organization.
To have a Swede like Willy come through for us in the big moment and carry us through the third period with his line and how they played was a tremendous finish.
On Nylander rising to the occasion in his home country:
It is tremendous. I am sure Willy wanted to have a night like that. Willy has had a lot of nights like that so far this season.
He, like a lot of our team, didn’t have much happening in the first two periods. I don’t think he had a shot on goal in the first two periods. It was clear to me that he had a little extra jump in his step in that third period. We started to double him up a little bit.
We were still trying to use four lines, but I was trying to use the Tavares line more every third shift and move the other guys around. I thought they had a little something going. Willy certainly drove it, but Tavares and Bertuzzi were excellent as well.
Those guys came through for us, and the rest of the group fed off of that. The Matthews line started to have some really good shifts and had some chances of their own.
It was really good. Clearly, it was what we needed in the moment.