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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 6-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes which improved the team’s record to 31-16-8.

On the team’s performance:

We got going well early in the game and took control. It is a huge goal from McMann to get us going and then the power play took advantage of their opportunities.

It gets a little hairy there in the second period where they get two, but I did like how we managed it. I don’t like that they got the third goal at the end of the second period, but by and large, we managed it well from the point in time that they scored the second goal. I thought we did a pretty good job of it.

It was a really good, clean third period. Willy scoring coming out of the box helped a great deal, but I thought the guys managed the third period very well.

On the team’s improvements over its five-game winning streak:

I think we are managing the games far better and making far fewer mistakes.

The group has really rallied here since Morgan left the lineup. It is not so much Morgan leaving the lineup as that incident and how it all played out. Morgan, in essence, defended the pride of the group and the pride of the logo. The team means so much to Morgan Rielly. In that moment, he shows you how much he cares about our team and what we are doing.

We didn’t love the fact that he was going to get held accountable for it. It is not anything to do with the suspension, but he means so much to our team. He is the longest-standing Leaf. You can see it in that moment.

If anything, I thought it was a real wake-up call to our team to get real serious about winning, take care of games, and rally around the moment. The guys, to me, have very much done that. It is a good chance for us to continue to build on it now as we welcome Morgan back.

On what more can be said about the Mitch Marner – Auston Matthews connection:

I don’t know if there is much more I can say. Year over year, I have answered this very same question, it seems.

They are two elite players who have great chemistry. Their games complement each other very well.

Obviously, Auston has been doing tremendous things, but Mitch has been tremendous as well. I don’t think it is by accident that Auston has had the type of push that he has had here. When you combine the way Auston is playing with Mich, this is what you get.

Both of those guys do so much for our team that doesn’t show up on the scoresheet, but they are doing tremendous things offensively.

On whether Timothy Liljegren’s power-play time has helped with his confidence:

It is hard to say if it is the power play directly or if it is playing with TJ Brodie. Is it playing in different spots that way? Is it playing more in general and thinking less? It is hard to really put a finger on it.

He certainly has played well. You do see his confidence growing — not just him but through the lineup, guys who have played more have played well and have done a good job to help stabilize the group.

On William Nylander getting chippy with Sean Durzi:

It was good to see Willy push back a little there and stand his ground.

It was a huge moment and a huge goal for us in the third. He goes into the box because he was looking for a breakaway when we were shorthanded. He ends up getting a breakaway coming out. He gets the goal back that we gave up at the end of the second period. That was a big moment in the game for us for sure.