HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On what he liked about the team’s performance tonight vs. the previous two games:
I think we’ve talked about it before. We’ve shown at different times that this is a group with a lot of character and a lot of pride, and we showed that today with how we responded.
On if the performance tonight started with success in the faceoff circle:
Yeah, for sure, those guys had strong nights. I think it’s just a sign of how engaged we were in the game. I would say that was where the game begins in a lot of cases. Guys were hard on the puck in all areas of the game.
On Muzzin’s performance tonight:
Just complete. He battled, he was competitive, he shot one into the net, found a way to get a couple of assists. Just all over the game. He was a real leader for us back there.
On Kerfoot’s role in kickstarting the third line tonight:
Yeah, I think it really helps us. That line has really been struggling for us to find an identity and to find some consistency. It’s tough for us because I thought Kerf was doing an excellent job with [Tavares] and [Nylander] and playing well there. Just talking we said the acquisition of Malgin gives us an opportunity to give him a look with those guys. I just thought that Alex could bring something back to that line. We wanted to give him a chance to be a centre and get that line going. The wingers, Engvall and Kappy, are two guys we think have more to give us. That happened today.
On Andersen’s performance on a late first period penalty kill:
Yeah, he was excellent. He was perfect, he keeps it out of the net. He battled, he looked solid there. It was just a really good sign for our team. He made saves on the pucks that they were throwing around the net, but there was also a lot of loose ones hanging out there. Our guys collapsed real hard on the loose pucks to maybe not necessarily get it out like we would have liked, but at least kept away from our net and allowed us to settle the game. I thought that penalty kill was a really important time in the game, obviously it didn’t crack. It was a good chance for our penalty kill, which had been outstanding for us. I think the 12 games or so in the month leading up to the game in Pittsburgh we had the number one penalty kill in the NHL. So the penalty kill has been really strong for us and today was a chance for us to bring it right back.
On Kapanen’s impact on the game tonight:
That’s what he’s capable of doing. That’s the impact that he has on our team. So just really great to see that. It gives us consistency all throughout our lineup.
On the challenge of trying to maximize the team’s performance after the last two games:
This season is going very different; different things. It’s going to require different things from me, it’s going to require different things from our players. We didn’t like how the last little bit has gone. I was excited about the opportunity to get to work yesterday and put in the work and respond. You’re playing against the same team, it has a playoff feel to it when you take a beatdown in the first game, you have a chance to regroup and make a plan and push your team, challenge the team, motivate your team. That’s the best part of this game. I was excited about it; I think our players were too and it showed tonight.
On if there were any keys to getting the right response from the team after Tuesday:
I think there was a lot said, a lot done and all that kind of stuff, but a part of it too is you just don’t like to get embarrassed. Our guys have a lot of pride in themselves, a lot of pride in the jersey and the organization. So, we could have said or done nothing, and we might have gotten this type of response. We’ll never really know. Regardless of the route, we like that we got the response, we like the outcome, we love the result. Get the shutout and didn’t give up much against a very good team. I thought we controlled play for good chunks of time against a very good team. A lot of really good healthy signs here so we’ll enjoy it.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (24 SAVES)
On the effort from the team’s blueliners tonight:
It was great. I think we responded the way we wanted to. I think the guys played really good. Muzz especially I thought was unbelievable today. Obviously, a great goal and amazing break out pass for Kappy’s goal, I think it was. Overall, a really good effort by the guys.
On the team scoring first and building its lead:
I think it goes without saying it’s better to score than give anything up. I thought we did a good job.
On if the team defended differently late to shut down Pittsburgh’s attack:
No, I thought we just stuck with our game for the most part of the game. We played a complete effort. That was a great response by everyone, I think, the way we want to be like.
KASPERI KAPANEN (1 GOAL)
On playing with emotion tonight:
I think the whole team showed a lot of emotion tonight, not just me in particular. You know, that’s the outcome when we play like that, we play with emotion and we stick to the structure and play the Maple Leaf way. That’s what happens and it was a good game throughout.
On his fight:
Stuff happens on the ice. I think Sandin got hit there and if it wasn’t me out there, I’m sure someone else would have stood up and defended one another. He came over and it just happened.
ALEX KERFOOT (1 ASSIST)
On Kapanen dropping the gloves:
It shows emotion, that’s what we were looking for. We wanted kind of a little more bite to our group. He’s a fiery guy at times and he had a great game tonight. I thought he was all over the forecheck, he was physical all night. When you see a guy like him drop the gloves, everyone on the bench gets a boost from that.
On if it’s frustrating why the team can’t have this effort more consistently:
I don’t think frustrating is the right word. I think maybe it’s disappointing the effort we’ve had a times this year but whether you’re a team who wins games or can’t win games, every team in this league can win games so it’s not a matter of we’re some upper echelon team that on certain nights can win games — I think that there’s a lot of teams in this league that when they’re playing well can win games. We’ve just got to find that energy, that bite, that jam that we had tonight and be able to bring that on a consistent basis.
DENIS MALGIN (FIRST GAME AS A MAPLE LEAF)
On playing his first game as a Maple Leaf:
I was trying to do my best you know, I felt good.
On playing with Tavares and Nylander:
It’s a great opportunity for me and now I’m just going to build off it.
On what being traded felt like:
Actually I don’t think so much, so I just took it and I was happy to be here.
WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL)
On tonight’s win:
I think it was a solid team game. I think this is what we needed. We had two terrible games, so to come back this is a good start, but we’ve just got to stick with this kind of game and keep playing like this and we’ll be good.
On what led to this effort after two straight losses:
Getting ready for the game, it’s just think that we haven’t been practicing so much and yesterday was a battle practice so we got into that kind of mode again. I think that was a good practice for us just to refresh in those kinds of areas of the game, which needed to improve.
JOHN TAVARES (2 ASSISTS)
On what he liked from the team tonight:
I think the intensity of the group, the way we started. It was a tight hockey game and we just stuck with it, got our opportunities, capitalized and didn’t let up in their end, I think that’s key for us. Good win, but obviously we’ve got to turn the page and get ready for Saturday. Lots of big hockey games coming up.
On the team’s success in the faceoff circle:
Yeah, we got a couple [goals] off them, so you just try to be as well prepared for those situations and those scenarios and take advantage of them when you can. Great shot by Muzz on the first one and then anytime you get a 5-on-3 and you’re able to win it clean, you’re able to get a good look right off of it. So good play [Matthews], great shot by Will. Just good areas to be sharp in and we generate a lot just everyone competing, hard work and fighting for their space and that led to open ice and good looks and following up on second opportunities.