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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 6-4 win over the Florida Panthers which improved the team’s record to 43-22-9.

On how the team generated plenty of offense against the league’s top defensive team:

I thought we did lots of good things. We were pretty direct in just putting pucks at the net. We had people there, which was important for us tonight.

We were really good through two periods. They probably weren’t at their best. We capitalized on that. It was probably a little bit of a reverse in the third.

On the team’s third period:

I have already watched the first portion of it back, and there are things in there that I don’t like in terms of how we stopped moving the puck with any sort of efficiency. We just kind of lost our energy. We lost what we had going well for us in the second period, especially.

I don’t like it, but it is hard for me to put myself in their shoes up four goals in game #74 and you’re getting ready for game #75. We did enough good things through two periods to be able to have enough of a cushion to afford it, but obviously, you don’t like it.

On what he’s hoping to accomplish in the final eight games:

I’d like to get healthy and get our guys back. The goal would be to stay healthy, but you can’t really control that. The games are going to be played. The practices are going to happen.

The other part of it is managing, as best we can, our rest and recovery. That will be really important for us. When the puck drops, we want our game to be in order in all facets.

Our penalty kill is really coming along here. That has been terrific. It is probably another reason why the game goes in our favour tonight — the job we did on the PK.

We want to get the power play rolling and continue to be tidy in our game at five-on-five.

On whether the team did a good job of setting the tone physically:

I didn’t think it was all that physical of a game, quite honestly. It wasn’t as anticipated. It was probably more of what you would expect on a Monday night in the middle of a regular season versus what you are going to get in a playoff series or what we have come to expect.

That said, I thought Reavo really set the tone for us and did his job. I thought we were engaged in the game. I didn’t think it was an overly physical affair by any means, but I liked how we stood in there.

The Knies response — you like those kinds of things that happen. You like it even more when you get the kill coming out of it. Those kinds of things were good.

Our guys were really engaged. We had a good first period. We expected Florida to be better in the second. We thought it was going to be required for us to reach another level ourselves. I thought we did. That was really encouraging.

On what’s gone wrong on the power play:

We are just off, and we have played against some terrific penalty kills. That is an outstanding penalty kill on the other side over there. They make it hard on you. It is hard for me to answer the question. I would say the opposition did a lot of good things against us tonight, as we did to them.

But if I look at the last stretch of games, we are just off. We’ve been chasing it here. It is not just Mitch being out. It is Morgan out. It is Liljegren out. We are into Timmins, who is trying to find his way while everyone else is off. We are just chasing it a little bit here.

We have to get that rectified, clearly.

On Nick Robertson contributing again offensively:

Huge goal. He has that game-breaking ability that you love to see.

As coaches, we talked before the game today. I was going to put that line in some tough spots tonight on purpose to see how they could handle it. Some of it was really good.

They were on the ice for two goals in the third. I have been purposely putting them in some tough spots and having them work their way through it. That is part of the growing pains of three first-year players all on the same line. It is a tough opponent over there.

They will be better having gone through it tonight.

On whether Ilya Samsonov has made the decision for the coaching staff in terms of cementing himself as the current #1 starter:

I think he is definitely getting close to that. He is the goalie of record to help us win our first playoff series in a very long time in this city. There is that, first of all.

The other part of it is him finding himself with his game. He has certainly done that. It was another good effort for him again. It was a tough third period for our group and for him, but he made some big saves for us again tonight. He is certainly building a lot of momentum.

Joseph Woll got some experience last year, too, and he will be hungry. Our job is to have two goalies thriving and ready to go for when the playoffs come.

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