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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins which improved the team’s record to 45-23-9.

On the keys to the victory:

Obviously, the fact that we were able to keep it out of our net on the penalty kill was a big factor in the game, especially with how many penalties we took. Other than that, I thought we played a pretty good game defensively.

Even in the third period, I didn’t think we gave up very much. They got the one behind Sammy there, but I thought we played patient. We didn’t give up much off the rush. This team does a lot of damage on the rush, and we managed that very well.

The guys didn’t cheat or get away from it. They stayed with it, even though the game was really tight. We didn’t get a ton of offense ourselves, but it was one of those games where we just had to stay with it. Because we didn’t get a lot of offense, we didn’t get the regulation win, but I liked a lot of things about the game.

I thought the guys handled the overtime well to get the second point.

On Jake McCabe’s OT winner:

It is a cool moment for a guy who does a lot of the grunt work for us. He is a competitor and does whatever the game calls for. Getting the opportunity and making good on it is a nice moment for him.

On Mitch Marner hopping off the ice in OT to avoid the too-many-men penalty:

Really glad it was Mitch on the ice. That processor works at a pretty high rate of speed. He was able to process all of that real quickly. It was very alert by Bert as well to get off. That was good awareness.

I will take it even further. That was a funky moment, but we had a line change before that. To me, that was the reason why the game ended the way that it did. Their guys couldn’t get off. It was going to be our third rotation through, and they still had their first guys out there. We just wore them down.

The five-on-five goal that we scored — Knies’ goal — was the same sort of process. It was us being connected line over line over line to the point where they had tired people who had to ice it. We win the faceoff, and they just don’t have the energy to defend.

Those are process-oriented goals you love seeing at this time of year, especially.

On how Auston Matthews is handling all the attention on the 70-goal pace behind the scenes:

He is himself. He is poised. He is just going about his business. He loves to score goals, but he is not putting that ahead of the team.

If you look at the game tonight, he doesn’t get many shifts that are easy matchups in terms of the calibre of the lines he is playing against. He can’t cheat the game. I didn’t think his line—I would have to go back through it—gave up much, and they generated a bunch for us. Even in the first period when we couldn’t really find ourselves, that line was really good.

He is going about it the right way. He trusts that his ability is going to shine through in the end and that he will be able to score. However it works out in the end, I think he will be content with it and should be proud of how he has handled himself all the way through it.

On TJ Brodie’s play improving ahead of the playoffs:

Mike Van Ryn and I were talking on the bench a few times about how he was probably our most efficient puck mover here today. He was calm — not just on the goal where he got the assist, but he moved the puck with poise and was relaxed under pressure when making some plays.

On the first goal we gave up in the game, we sort of panicked and threw the puck away. It ended up in our net, ultimately. Brods has some poise with it. You need that. You have to be able to move the puck out of your end under pressure. If you can’t, it turns into a lot like how our first period was to start before the penalties became a factor.

Brods helped us make some plays to get up the ice today for sure.

On the penalty kill’s five-for-five night:

We stayed with it. We were in our end way too much tonight.

Our penalty kill has been going really well. A lot of it has been on the backs of hard pressure and then clears on loose pucks. We didn’t clear the puck enough tonight. As a result, we were in our end a lot. They had a lot of puck time.

I thought we pressed things to the outside, and when they got it to the interior, it was from a distance. A couple of times, Sammy had to make good saves for us, but the guys stayed with it. It is a lot of penalty-killing time tonight.

It was good to find our way through it. That is what you like to see, of course.