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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils which improved the team’s record to 46-23-9.

On the team’s performance:

I thought we played well. It took us a little while to find our legs. Once the second period got going, I thought we got a lot better offensively that way.

I thought it was a good game for our guys. We stayed with it and built a lead. Except for a couple of plays here and there, I thought it was a pretty tidy affair for us defensively. We didn’t give them much.

On Matthew Knies’ performance:

I thought Knies was outstanding tonight in all periods. I loved his game. He was physically dominant. He was on the puck. He was quick.

They couldn’t handle him tonight. That is a really positive sign.

On Nick Robertson’s knack of scoring after a scratch:

As I have told him throughout the season each time that he has come out, sometimes it has nothing to do with his play or what he has done. It is just a matter of him being on a really good team with lots of depth. Stay ready.

That was the message last time we took him out: Stay ready. It is the same kind of mindset as we get into the playoffs.

It was a great goal that got us started in the game. He has done a really nice job this year.

I have told him that. When he comes in and out of the lineup, at times, you can overthink things, but when you really zoom out, Nick has had a terrific season here. He has stayed healthy, contributed, learned a lot, and taken more out of this season than probably all of his others combined.

Sometimes, we want to rush guys or overthink things, but he has had a really good season. We have seen lots of development from him. You see it at times like tonight.

On the top line overcoming a slower start to the game and making another big impact:

The chemistry is really good. I think they are really enjoying playing together. You see it in their play.

I also think they have high expectations of themselves because of how they have played. When things are not going well, such as the first period, they want to make adjustments and succeed.

They were really good tonight — like our team — once the second period began offensively. I thought we were fine defensively in the first period, too, but offensively, we had to get way more pace in our game. Once we found our legs, it was very apparent. That line really led the charge in that way.

On Tyler Bertuzzi’s ability to elevate at this time of the season:

Throughout his career, at different levels, he seems to have that knack — junior hockey, American league, NHL. I think it is a bit of an X factor. He has that competitiveness in him. He plays hard. He is fearless. He has a good stick to make plays and finish around the net. He goes to the dirty areas, which really helps open things up for his line but also means he is in the right places when the puck arrives.

We have been saying throughout the season that we sense that he is going to trend in the right direction at the right time of year. We are seeing that.

On Joseph Woll’s performance:

I thought he was good. I told Curtis Sanford I was sorry we didn’t surrender more shots for them tonight. Sometimes, those types of games can be tough.

He gives up a breakaway and a point-blank rebound. Aside from that, when he was asked to make saves, he did. It was a good effort by him and probably an even better effort by the guys in front of him to not allow too much to get to the net.

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