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

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 2-1 overtime win over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the ECQF playoff series.

On Joseph Woll’s composure:

It’s more just about consistency in his routine. He works really hard. He fought through a tough injury this season. That sort of derailed what was a tremendous season to that point. He stayed with it.

Since the playoffs began, or once we were preparing in the last week and Joe knew he wasn’t going to be starting Game 1 of the playoffs, it was really obvious to me that he was going to continue to work and do everything that he could, prepare as though he was playing, and stay ready. He has certainly done that.

Because of that and how the games and the series have gone, we have had daily discussions about when the right time is to get Joe in. Because of Sammy, how he has played, how he has competed, and how he has bounced back so many times — including from Game 1 to Game 2 in this series — you stay with Sammy, but Joe showed tonight why we have confidence in him.

On the strengths of the overall team game tonight:

The aggression and assertiveness we played with from the start. We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. We didn’t mail it in. We went out and took charge of the hockey game in the first period. I thought we did a terrific job of that.

Everybody put in a tremendous effort in that first period. It was difficult to come out of it at 1-1, but as I said to the guys between periods, we played a tremendous period, and yet it was still 1-1. That is how hard and tight this is. We have to stay with it. It is going to require 60 minutes. Tonight, it was even more than that.

The way we went out, took charge of the game and asserted ourselves early was impressive. A really good message from the players to deliver like that.

On Max Domi stepping up at center:

The line was really good. Max did a tremendous job. They did a really good job of ensuring that line didn’t have to spend a lot of time in our end because of how they were skating, working, and on the puck.

As much as we have guys with a lot of skill — and Max is certainly one of them — who can make plays through the neutral zone, our game and our period — our start to the game — has to begin with the forecheck, begin with work, and begin with competing. That is the playoffs. That is what this series certainly demands.

That line did that extremely well. They really, really worked. Because of that, they got some favourable pucks. They got pucks back, were able to attack the net, and spent lots of time on offense.

They were tremendous tonight. Credit to Max for stepping up. He was outstanding in the faceoff circle as well. It was really good and clearly needed tonight.

On Matthew Knies from last playoffs vs. Matthew Knies in this year’s playoffs:

I think Matthew Knies was terrific last year in the playoffs. To that end, I would say it was pretty similar. I think he came in on an adrenaline high last year. He didn’t really know much. He was just playing and being a big, strong guy who was working with a good stick. But he has been really building this series game by game. He has been getting better and better.

Tonight, he was terrific. It is very fitting that he got the winner—first on an incredible effort by John to drive wide and get the puck to the net front. It is fitting because Knies has worked really hard. It is terrific.

As I was waiting outside for [Woll and Knies] to finish up [with the media], it is not lost on you that you have two young guys who make a big impact on the game tonight. That is terrific to see.

On whether the Leafs have pushed some of the pressure onto the Bruins with this win:

I think so. That is what you want to do. You want to build positive momentum your own way. You want to make them uncomfortable. You want to make them pack up and head out to Toronto.

When we were coming here, I am talking about how we went there in Game 2 and played great. We won the last game we were here. I am sure they are talking about it in the same way. They are comfortable and confident playing in Toronto.

As difficult as this one was tonight, the next one is going to be even harder no matter where the game is played. Now, you got their attention again. I am sure part of the first period was them a little unsure as to how we were going to handle ourselves tonight. I don’t think we will have that advantage mentally or psychologically going into the next game.

We will have to make sure we get that right. We haven’t been good on home ice. We have earned ourselves another opportunity to fix that.