Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators which improved the team’s record to 14-6-4.
On the strong overall team performance:
I thought we got right to work on that from the start of the game. For the most part, we stayed with it. It was as tidy of a game as we have played.
A game like that takes care of everybody. It was a good night.
On the team’s puck management and patience offensively throughout the game:
Not perfect every time — there are a few in there that we would like to manage better — but all game, I thought we had a really patient approach. In the second period, especially, our game really started to come. I thought we really took care of the puck and made sure we were just going to wear them down and not let their game get started offensively.
Through that, over time, we could break them down. The guys stayed patient until that happened. They got their chances in the second period where we got behind them and made good on them.
We had some chances in the first period as well that we didn’t make good on, which allowed the game to stay at 0-0, but I just loved our second period. That set us up for the third, which the guys took care of well.
On Ilya Samsonov’s 18-save shutout:
If you could draw it up as a perfect game for him, that would probably be it. He doesn’t let anything in. The guys played well in front of him. For a guy who hadn’t played in a while and was battling an illness, he had three good skates this week. We were comfortable playing him tonight, but he hasn’t played, obviously.
With Woll’s injury, there is a little bit of pressure and attention on that position right now. For Sammy to come in and have a night like that is great for him and something for him to build on.
On whether Samsonov’s return to the crease motivates the rest of the team to take care of him a little bit more in net:
They probably wouldn’t say it is at the top of their minds or anything like that. They’re just trying to play their game.
I do think there is a subconscious thing there. It is not just the goalie. It is the defense. You are trying to pick up the slack everywhere. The team game took care of everything and allowed everyone to settle in.
Sammy was solid. It was a perfect night for him. It is exactly what you are looking for. I thought the defense battled. The gap control, the contribution against their forecheck with killing plays on the walls quickly in the defensive zone — they were really, really solid one through six tonight. That is big.
On the forward side, too, I thought all four lines did a good job for us tonight. It is certainly as good of a team win as we have had.
On David Kampf’s 1-0 goal:
Tremendous effort and speed. If I am not mistaken, it is against Roman Josi. What a finish. A tremendous goal.
He has been working really hard at his game offensively. I think he is just getting better and better. His line was excellent tonight. Gregor was excellent tonight. I thought Reavo fit really well on the line. It made me comfortable playing them tonight.
That goal is a huge one for us. You are waiting for that moment. You are being patient, and you keep working, but you need to get rewarded. For Kampfer to come through like that was big.
On Nylander and Matthews’ chemistry together since they were united on a line:
It is coming for sure.
I thought Auston had some really good moments in the Ottawa game as well. I would put that as three really good games for him. When he is driving like that, no matter who he is playing with, it is going to go well.
For Willy, on a night like tonight, it’s him coming back to life offensively. Probably more important, for me, was the way it was he was working off of the puck tonight. He really contributed on the forecheck. When that is happening, we are defending way less and we have the puck away more. That is only going to benefit our elite players.