Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: Any sort of update on Simmonds?
Sheldon Keefe: No real update here yet, he’s still getting looked at and evaluated. We’ll have that for you
guys on Monday morning when we get back together again.
Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: Auston had commented on the consistency of the group tonight through
60, just your thoughts on how that unfolded from your vantage point?
Sheldon Keefe: Yeah, I’m going to go back and look at it. I don’t know if I’d be able to say it was 60
minutes consistent. Vancouver had their pushes, but I did like our start, obviously, and we knew the start
was going to be really important here tonight. We wanted to establish our game.
Once again, I thought we were able to do that. Vancouver pushed back pretty hard in the last seven, eight
minutes of the first period and then we were able to extend our lead in the second, which is really
important. I thought Vancouver put a lot more pressure on us here today. We capitalized when we had
our chances. Obviously, the Matthews line was really rolling here today. That just was the real difference
Q. Luke Fox, Sportsnet: What goes through a coach’s mind when you see a goal like Auston’s first one?
Does he still do stuff that surprises you?
Sheldon Keefe: He does. I think that just speaks to his ability and how special he is. That goal tonight,
just one of those, it happened so fast that I don’t think anybody on the ice was really ready for it. Just with
how quickly he went around a defender to put it in the net. It was impressive. These last two games — all
season I really think he’s been very good for us — but these last two games, he’s really had jump and I
think, if anything, I’ve probably gotten in his way a little bit here just with us getting in the lead and, maybe
not necessarily reducing his minutes because he’s still had pretty good minutes, but disrupting his flow
and times that I would normally get him out there and O-zone starts and shifts in succession, I’m holding
him back and getting more of a one to four type of rotation, disrupting his flow a bit.
I think in both these games that we’ve played here, he could have had four or five. He was really feeling it.
That’s really good for us, obviously, and good for him that he’s having that confidence. He was doing it in
all zones for us to start the season, and now he’s starting to get the consistent rewards around the net.
That’s great for him to get that.
Q. Luke Fox, Sportsnet: Safe to say this was Mikko Lehtonen’s best game?
Sheldon Keefe: Yeah, I would say so, definitely. He looked really confident and comfortable out there. I
thought his touches to the puck were real efficient. He didn’t have to defend a great deal here today,
which I think allowed him to get more comfortable, but definitely his touches were good. Not just on the
ones that resulted in goals, but throughout the game here, real solid moving with the puck.
Q. Jonas Siegel, The Athletic: I just wondered if you ever played against anyone who seemed to score
as easy as Auston makes it look.
Sheldon Keefe: There’s been a lot of really good players over the years. Obviously, we knows there’s a
number of special players, Auston certainly is one of them. Like I said, he does surprise me still, yet you
just expect something special because he’s capable of that and watching him in practice every day is a
pleasure. He’s certainly special and unique. A unique talent.
Q. Kevin McGran, Toronto Star: I’m just curious what you think of your third line’s performance tonight
with Kerfoot, Mikheyev and Vesey.
Sheldon Keefe: I thought they skated really well. I thought they had the puck a great deal. With those
guys, just like I did the other night, I’d have to go back and just roll through just their shifts and focus just
on them. I did that last game as well. Have to do that again just to see the detail inside of it. Offensively,
we’ve got three guys there that are really trying to find themselves offensively. But I thought the speed
they had on the puck and the work ethic that they had, we can’t take that away from them. That makes
them effective. I think in terms of chemistry as a line, I think they’re still looking to find it.
Q. Kevin McGran, Toronto Star: How much do you need them to score or prefer that they just don’t get
Sheldon Keefe: Well, it depends on the game. On a night like tonight, we don’t need them to score, but
we need them to be hard to play against, we need them to win shifts and keep our positive progression
going as a team. That’s what you’re looking for. I think I said all three are trying to find themselves
offensively, looking to break out a little bit, but we’re finding ways to win games without that type of
offense. Those guys are still important players for us, all three of them are penalty killers.
Our penalty kill again here tonight, we end up taking too many and it ends up hurting us and costing Fred
a shutout. Not sure if we necessarily needed to kill as many penalties towards the end there. I thought
they were maybe looking to give them some calls, it cost Fred a shutout. I thought that our penalty kill has
constantly been good for us.
When we look and break it down with our process and how it’s gone, we like a lot of things about it. Yet
there’s one moment and I see it in each game where we’re costing ourselves a goal and it’s hurting the
overall results of our PK, but those three guys have all been really important pieces of what we think is a
PK that’s got a good process that over time will have better results.
Q. Josh Clipperton, Canadian Press: When you were envisioning what this team could look like or what
it could be, I’m sure you had some kind of framework or roadmap of what it would look like. How close is
this group right now on this streak to what you kind of envision them being?
Sheldon Keefe: I think it’s close, but obviously when you take someone like Joe out of our lineup it
changes a lot of things in terms of what we had envisioned. But in terms of how we’re playing I think
these last couple games are a little more of a reflection of that. We think we put together two good games
here of having some good offensive pieces to our game and really having that connection offensively
from our zone through the neutral zone into the offensive zone.
I think we were really disconnected in that area, especially on the Alberta trip. That’s matching what I
think has been not perfect detail defensively, but the fact that we’ve done a much better job on odd-man
rushes and generally allowing people to get behind us, comparing that with the offensive start, it’s starting
to look like what we expect from our group.
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: A couple of the guys tonight talked about how patient the team is and
how they look on breakouts, what does it look like from your angle?
Frederik Andersen: It’s been good. I think we’ve been working on supporting each other throughout the
three different zones and obviously not spending too much time in our zone. I think we did that, especially
in the first 10 minutes. We came out really good and the guys spent a lot of time in their zone and wore
them down a little bit. We got off to a good start with the lead so good habits and, again, good start.
Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: National anthems, you come to the blueline and stand with the team
versus standing in your net. Is that a superstitious thing or a team unity thing?
Frederik Andersen: Maybe both. A little of both.
Q. Kevin McGran: Is this as good of a Leaf team, as good a role as you’ve seen in your time here?
Frederik Andersen: I don’t know, I don’t like to spend too much time thinking about comparing to old
teams and stuff like that. We’re really focused on staying present and trying to win each game. I think
we’ve seen a lot of good periods and got a lot of good leads, especially the last two games, and jumping
on them pretty hard and not giving them too much. I think we’re just happy, keep playing well and keep
helping each other out to play more simple and more structured. That’s how we can succeed in the later
part of the season, but we want to build it out by being present and playing every game and every period
like it’s the only thing that matters. That’s really all I’ve seen so far.
Q. Josh Clipperton, Canadian Press: You would have seen videos of Auston, heard a lot about him but
what’s it like to see him up close?
Mikko Lehtonen: It’s been awesome. He’s so professional. His skills on the ice, they’re amazing. It’s fun
to play with him. It’s really fun to play with him.
Q. Josh Clipperton, Canadian Press: You got your chance tonight, two points. How did you feel?
Mikko Lehtonen: Really good. I felt confident. I think I played a good game. I felt good today.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Sheldon felt that that was your best practice with the team yesterday and said
you had been working hard with Stephane Robidas and coach Hakstol. In what ways do you feel you
were better tonight?
Mikko Lehtonen: I think all over. We had done a lot of little drills to help me play here and it has helped
me a lot here so that’s been good for me. For sure I felt good today and those practices have been
Q. Mark Master, TSN: On the play where you set up Hyman, what did you see there and maybe for a
second might have been your goal?
Mikko Lehtonen: First I thought I was going to take my shot but then I saw Zach’s stick was wide open
there in the back door so it was kind of an easy pass for him.
Q. Josh Clipperton, Canadian Press: What can you say about the heater Auston’s on right now?
Mitch Marner: He’s been playing great. He’s been getting himself in scoring areas. He’s working below
the puck in our d-zone especially coming out of our zone mostly with the puck in the middle of the ice and
when you give him that much space and time, he’s going to make something happen. I think just like our
team right now, we’re working well on our d-zone coming out with the puck with control, coming out
through the middle of the ice. I think as a unit we’re doing it very well. Like I said when you give him time
and space, it’s usually a goal.
Q. Josh Clipperton, Canadian Press: Just Wayne’s performance, two goals. What can you say about
what he’s brought tonight and throughout the whole season?
Mitch Marner: He’s brought everything really. He’s a guy that’s not afraid to speak up in our locker room.
He’s been with a lot of great teams. He knows what it takes. Every night he comes ready to play. He
always has everyone’s back on the bench. It’s something you need, something you love to have. He’s
been great with us, it’s been a lot of fun being with him. I’ve seen that goal a couple of times with Philly. It
was impressive to see with my own eyes tonight.
Q. Kevin McGran, Toronto Star: What can you say about the roll that the whole team feels like it on right
now, you guys aren’t taking your foot off the gas?
Mitch Marner: As I said, as a unit in the d-zone, we’re not panicking, we’re talking to each other, coming
out with the puck cleanly. I think it’s just something we’ve got to keep continuing to do. Often when we are
doing it well, it transforms into our offence and makes our offence go very well. Finding each other,
another impact I think is our offensive line changes. I think we’ve gotten a lot better at that in recent
games. Something we’ve just got to keep doing, keep getting better at. Something we need to fix is our
penalty taking, we’ve got to get that down. But I thought as a unit, we played well. We didn’t give a lot of
space or time, tried to make it hard on everyone on the other side.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: What did you like most about the team’s performance tonight?
Auston Matthews: I think we’re just consistent throughout the whole game. I don’t think we really had
any big lapses. They obviously had their chances and they had their possession time, but I thought we
really stuck with it, we stayed inside and forced them to the outside and just stuck with our structure for a
full 60 minutes/ I think it was a really, really solid game for us.
Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Being around Wayne Simmonds day in day out his teammate what stands out
the most to you?
Auston Matthews: Yeah, he’s a great teammate, he’s a great player and he really elevates our
competitiveness with the way he plays and the way he leads this team. The addition of him, as well as
[Bogosian], [Thornton], all these other guys that have come in, they’ve made an impact right away on
everybody. It’s only been positive for us. It’s great to see him get into his spot and he’s scoring goals and
pretty nifty won tonight. He’s been really, really good for us.
Q. Luke Fox, Sportsnet: When the offense is rolling like it has been the last couple of games, how much
do you miss not having fans in the building?
Auston Matthews: I think we miss the fans every single night. They play such a big part in what we do
and just the atmosphere and everything that goes into it. We definitely miss them. Can’t wait to have them
back, for sure.