Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: Can I start by asking Robertson’s condition?
Sheldon Keefe: It looks like he’s definitely going to miss some time, the extent of it we don’t quite know yet. He’s going to get an MRI I believe tomorrow. I’m not sure, but we’ll hear very soon. We’ll know more then.
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: What did you think of Joe and the goal?
Sheldon Keefe: I thought it was a great goal, a great sequence by that line. That line you could tell right from the drop of the puck today was going to have a night. They’ve been working really hard, haven’t had the results here quite yet, but they’ve been really working and it was just a matter of time for the line and
for Auston, certainly. I felt that line was going to break out today, I don’t know that I had Jumbo maybe being the first one to get on the board, but you could tell that the line was going to break out and have a good night. It did so it was great.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: What did you like the most about that line? Mitch felt like maybe they were being a bit more creative, letting that flow. What did you see from that group?
Sheldon Keefe: We had talked before the game, I had talked to the team, I had talked to you guys, about offensively we just needed to really increase our pace and that’s been something we’ve been talking about and working at since day one of training camp. It hadn’t really shown up in our first two games.
With how Ottawa is playing and they’re competing defensively and how they’re content to defend, it was a real challenge for us to make sure we’re doing that. I thought we did that tonight. As a result I just thought those guys were just way more involved, they were all over the puck and they were getting pucks back, they were getting second and third opportunities in the offensive zone. It just really opened the game up for them. We didn’t get an abundance of great chances, again credit to Ottawa with how they play and defend, but those guys were quite good today. You lose sight of the fact that just how good defensively
they were at the same time.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Jack Campbell was talking to us about how it could be tough with the long layoff to stay sharp as a goalie. How did he look to you tonight?
Sheldon Keefe: He looked excellent. I think it’s a tough night for a goalie. He goes long stretches without shots and we did still give up some looks at the net, guys in behind us and all those kinds of things – in behind us in our own end, I should say, not so much breakaways or rushes or anything like that. They got
some clean looks at the net. Obviously, their power play was pretty dangerous, the 5-on-3 and they had some looks there and looks at the end, and obviously the game saving save there at the end is big time
stuff. It’s great, it’s what you want to get from your goaltender coming in like this. It’s a back-to-back game for our team and we needed to have a great response and we need great goaltending and he brought that for us.
Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: What were the differences for you, do you think, from the hashmarks down or in the defensive zone as a whole?
Sheldon Keefe: We really didn’t spend much time in our own end at all tonight. I think that’s a bigger part of it. We had the puck a lot, when we didn’t have the puck we were above the thing very quickly and we got it back quite quickly. It wasn’t perfect. At times I thought they had some looks at our net. We want to
do a better job there of picking up coverage and things, but we really didn’t spend very much time in our own end today. Frankly, we didn’t spend much time in our end yesterday either, but when we did we
weren’t very good in that regard. Today we were in and out pretty quick and that helps a great deal.
Q. James Mirtle, The Athletic: Joe Thornton’s minutes were down to around 14, is that just a case of it being a back-to-back or was it game situations? How did you settle on that today?
Sheldon Keefe: A little bit of both, James. I was mindful, not just of him, but some of our other guys in trying to spread out the minutes a little bit better. We lost Robertson and that changed the flow of our team a little bit. I was spotting in Simmonds with that line a little and moving things around a bit. I was
mindful of the back-to-back, but it was also just circumstantial, really. I thought Joe had really great legs right until the very end of the game. Some of our best tracks and catching guys from behind and having a
stick on the puck and creating a turnover in the last couple of games here against Ottawa came from Joe and his efforts there. Feeling real good about what he’s been able to do and how he looks in that area.
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: How did it feel in there tonight and what has the dynamic been with you, Freddie and Aaron all being together?
Jack Campbell: It’s been great. Deller’s a great person and Freddie and I really have enjoyed having him. He brings a great attitude and work ethic. Freddie’s been doing his thing and we’re just trying to keep building and get better every day.
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: How did you feel tonight yourself?
Jack Campbell: Not bad. It’s been a little bit so I’ve got to get the rust off. I know I can be a lot better, but thankfully the boys were amazing tonight and I thought we deserved that two points. The boys played awesome.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: You mentioned the layoff, your first game since March, your first win since February. What have you done well or done to stay as sharp as you can be?
Jack Campbell: I’ve definitely used the time to work on things that I’ve needed to clean up within my game, as well as things off the ice that I wanted to turn weaknesses into strengths. I think I’ve done that. Thankfully we have a great training staff here and I spent the offseason, summer, whatever you want to
call it right here getting better and we had a great crew pushing each other. You can see tonight how hard we worked and the condition that we’re all in. It was really fun to be a part of tonight.
Q. Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star: Can you talk about your line’s play tonight compared to the other nights? I think it just clicked more tonight, but can you address that?
Mitch Marner: I think we felt better. I think it was really our first good game together. We were moving well. Down low, we were really creating a lot of chances holding onto the puck. We weren’t rushing plays.
I think we were really using our creativity out there and that’s something I think we weren’t doing in the first two games. I feel like were really kind of rushing, throwing pucks away, so that’s a better game by us three. Obviously, we were working hard, we were moving, we were physically engaged and winning puck battles down low in the O-zone so that’s something that if you do that well, you’re going to come out with the puck a lot of times. I think we did that well tonight and we got a lot of scoring chances off of it.
Q. Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star: Can you talk about the team’s confidence with Jack Campbell in net?
Mitch Marner: Whoever we have in that net, we have major belief in them. Soupy’s shown multiple times that he can go in there regardless and play an amazing game. Again tonight he did that. He’s been awesome every time he’s stepped on that ice and played in that net. Like I said, we have faith in either
goalie going out there and playing in our net and he had another amazing game for us.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: What stands out the most about Joe Thornton as a teammate, the energy he brings and also what he’s bringing on the ice right now?
Jake Muzzin: Yeah he’s playing well. He brings a lot of experience, obviously. He’s been around a long time, played a lot of hockey games and seen a lot of stuff. He’s been through it all, seen it all and it helps with young guys coming up in this league. He’s fun in the room, he’s loud, he brings energy, he’s great to have around, for sure.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: What was the biggest difference for you guys as a team tonight?
Jake Muzzin: Well we stayed with it. Last game we got off to a good start and we got away from it for a little bit and they capitalized on a couple chances and we were chasing the game. Tonight, again we got off to a good start and then we just stayed with it for most of the game. A little bit of penalty trouble but
other than that we were pretty good most of the night.
Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: I’m sure if you knew, you are the second oldest Leaf to score and the oldest forward ever to score.
Joe Thornton: Who’s the oldest?
Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: Allan Stanley.
Joe Thornton: And how old would he be?
Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: He was 41 and 6-7 months older than you. Hall of Famer.
Joe Thornton: So I’ve got to play a couple more years you’re saying, eh?
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: I guess the goal in a game like this was just as big. You guys needed to take a split from this series.
Joe Thornton: We did. We didn’t feel too good about our game last night. It was just a good 60-minute effort. Just happy to contribute for the guys tonight.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Mitch was just describing you as a version of himself 20 years from now because of how energetic you are. How would you describe what it’s like being around Mitch?
Joe Thornton: Oh, I love all the boys, to be honest with you. It’s been so fun with Mitchy and [Matthews]. We have a lot of fun out there. I think we’ll continue to keep growing as a line because we are having fun
and we get excited before every game and I think you can tell each game we’re getting better, and that’s a real good sign. I love playing with those two kids.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Mitch was saying that you were calling for it on the play where scored. What did you see on that sequence?
Joe Thornton: I wanted to give it over to [Matthews] but they kind of took him away so I kind of saw the goalie cheating a bit so I shot. The amount of attention that these two guys get, I’ve just got to get open for them and just be ready to shoot the puck and be ready to distribute to these guys.