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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, which dropped the team’s final record to 46-25-10.

On his message to Auston Matthews on the bench when he didn’t reach the 70-goal milestone: 

I was just acknowledging how there were 34 seconds left in the game (when we scored the 6-4 goal). Pretty fitting for the type of season that he’s had and for the regular season to come to an end like that.

He has played so tremendously well. There has been a lot of focus on the pursuit of 70 goals, but within that, you kind of lose sight of how well he has played. He is playing well and feeling well. It has been fun to watch.

The way he played these last two games — if you give him those types of chances and those types of shots, he might’ve gotten 75. It was not meant to be. That is okay. 69 is an unbelievable season.

34 seconds on the clock. It tells me there are more great things to come from Auston and our team.

On witnessing Matthews’ development into a goal-scorer of this calibre:

It has been fun. It makes my job easier in some senses. In other ways, it makes it harder. I am trying to manage his minutes and manage the team but also trying to help the cause through this last little bit.

He has found another level to his game in the last couple of months or six weeks. His season has been a little bit up and down here and there, and to still finish with the season that he had and the numbers he put up is pretty remarkable. It is tremendous to be able to watch it.

The players were really pulling for him in the last little bit, but as I said, 69 is pretty damn good, too.

On the challenge ahead against the Bruins:

It is a great team. Either way, we were going to be facing a very good team. Now that we know who it is, we will do all we can to prepare for it.

I am not afraid to admit to you that this is the first regular-season game where I was watching video of another team during the intermissions. We are working all we can to get ourselves prepared and ready to go. That is where our mind is at.

On whether it is concerning that the team finished the regular season on a four-game losing skid:

I couldn’t tell you the score of any of those games, including the one we just finished.

On the details slipping in the final games:

They’re not there all the time, and they are to going to be. It is human nature.

On William Nylander’s dip in production late in the season:

His numbers are down in the last little bit, but his game hadn’t been. Just last week, he was dominating play. The puck wasn’t going in for him, sort of like it wasn’t with Auston in the last couple of days.

In the last week, Willy has shown he is done with regular-season hockey and ready to move along. I am not concerned about Willy.

On what he has seen from Mark Giordano over the last few weeks:

Hunger. He is pushing every day and giving us everything that he has, whether it is in practice or games. He is continuing to be a good teammate and a valued member of our group.