Sheldon Keefe, Maple Leafs post game
Sheldon Keefe, Maple Leafs post game

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks which improved the team’s record to 20-10-7.

On how William Nylander has excelled under the pressures of a contract year:

I have answered this question a bunch. Willy is unflappable. He doesn’t get too concerned with anything that is going on outside of his responsibilities on the ice. That is what I really like about him. He goes out and plays.

He wants to continue to get better. He has been working on his game and working to find his own consistency over the last number of years. He took a huge step last season and hasn’t looked back.

On the team hitting so many posts in the game:

It is the way it has gone for us offensively in the last couple of games. We have had a lot of shots and it hasn’t fallen at the frequency we are accustomed to.

There is lots of good that comes through that. We weren’t able to really blow games open or get too comfortable with our game. We had to stay consistent in our effort to stay with it.

I don’t think we shot the puck nearly enough in the second period — not like we did in the first — but I did like our attack mindset in the first period to take charge of the game. It is really important to do, especially on the road.

On the confidence that the goals would come eventually when it was only 1-0 after 20 minutes:

We just came off of a game in Anaheim where we had 106 shot attempts and didn’t have much to show for it until the very end. It was very fresh in our mind that we had to be patient and stay with it.

We have enough skill on our group that, as a coach, you do have to trust that it is going to fall. If it is not, you are going to do everything you can to manage the game in the meantime.

On Martin Jones picking up the win against his old team:

He has been great on this trip. It has been a little bit of a homecoming for him back in California. We have leaned on him a lot. He has been tremendous.

On whether Jones has exceeded expectations since joining the NHL roster:

I would say so.

When we were coming in, we were so focused on Woll and Samsonov. You are really happy to have the depth. You are certainly happy that he got through waivers and remained with us, but you are not overly focused on it. As a coach, you are hoping you don’t need him, quite frankly.

The fact that he has done the job that he has and has stabilized our group at a very important and difficult time is terrific. Credit to him. Credit to the players who have done a really nice job in front of him, too.

On the biggest takeaway from sweeping the California trip:

It just shows what we are capable of and the consistency that we can get to. We played three different types of games on this trip in terms of the way the games went against different opponents, but I thought there was some consistency throughout our game.

Now, this one tonight is probably not as good as the other two, but it is the end of a long trip. To still come out of it pretty clean and take charge of the game in the first period — that is what we have been talking about doing. When we made some mistakes, we got saves.

To me, this has been building. Coming out of the Christmas break, I still lump in our Columbus and Carolina games as part of this. We were building, trending, and building momentum. We carried that through here.

On how close the team is to turning the turn in terms of the consistency the coaching staff is looking for:

We have been pretty darn good defensively now five games in a row. The volume of what we have given up is quite low. That, with consistent goaltending, has stabilized our team. We are just doing good things and feeling really comfortable and confident in these types of situations.

Can we improve? Of course, we can still continue to improve.