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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets which improved the team’s record to 25-14-8.

On the team’s improvement in this win over Wednesday’s win:

Wednesday’s game is obviously different than tonight’s, but in both games, it required a lot of work, a lot of perseverance, commitment, and all of those types of things.

In this game tonight, in particular, I just thought we were really good in lots of areas — at five-on-five, on the power play, on the penalty kill, the goaltending, and the depth scoring with Reaves getting us going there.

A lot of really good things tonight. It is a great way to finish this off and go into the break.

On Ryan Reaves’ performance:

I loved the goal, obviously.

At first, he kind of creates the possession for us by really pushing the pace up the ice and putting some pressure on them. It creates a turnover and gets us on offense. He is at the net, which is a clear plan of ours tonight: to be in that space. Gregor puts the puck there, he gets a stick on it, and we get rewarded.

It was a huge moment in the game, obviously, to not allow them to build much of a lead and to get us all square there in the first period.

Reavo gave us lots tonight. He gave us lots of energy. He was physical. Defensively, he was really good. I liked that line tonight.

On Ilya Samsonov’s growing confidence:

He was tested a lot tonight. As much as I liked our game, I thought we gave up more than we had given up here in recent games. He was really good again here tonight. He is looking confident.

Again, with the work that he has done here of late, going into the break, it is a chance to take a breath and regroup. He can come back refreshed but confident. We are thrilled for him.

On John Tavares breaking a 10-game goalless slump and the power play breaking through at the same time:

John has been working really hard in games. He has been working diligently off the ice. Also, he has been keeping things in perspective and not getting frustrated.

On the power play, we needed the big response today. We got that. For John to come through for us in the way that we expect that he might — being in front, getting a stick on the puck — is a huge goal for us. It is a huge moment in the game.

We got the 5-on-3 with a huge chance to sort of ice the game. They came through and delivered there with Auston’s 40th. Again, what an unbelievable way to go into the break. It puts a nice cap on the first half — if we’ll call it that — for him.

On William Nylander stepping up on the penalty kill with Calle Jarnkrok absent:

I thought he did a good job. He got his stick on the puck and intercepted some plays. He obviously had some chances himself.

We were going to rely on him more tonight — not just him but on Gregor, who was going to take on more tonight. Holmberg took some shifts as well.

The depth guys were good today. Domi and Robertson — I don’t know if they found the scoresheet tonight, but I thought those guys brought lots of jump, made lots of plays, and gave us some really good minutes as well.

On the difficulty of breaking through against the Jets’ defensive structure:

They close space really well. They are connected well. They are not taking a lot of chances offensively which is keeping their defensive structure in place, and yet, if you make a mistake, they are transitioning really well. That is where a lot of their offense is coming from.

They are just working well as a group of five. They are connected to it. They have good habits. They are not doing anything stupid. They are not making mistakes and they are not beating themselves. They play a really disciplined, diligent game. They expect it to be low-scoring.

That was a real challenge for our team and a real test in this back-to-back against them. They made it tough on us, no question, but I loved how our guys handled these games against this team.