MAPLE LEAFS 4, PENGUINS 0– WHAT THEY SAID: "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." — FREDERIK ANDERSEN.

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.

Production from Hyman, Tavares should let Keefe maintain Leafs’ new Matthews trio — Toronto Sun

The pressure is on, Zach Hyman. Read More

Production from Hyman, Tavares should let Keefe maintain Leafs’ new Matthews trio — Toronto Sun

CANADIENS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 1 (OT)– WHAT THEY SAID: "I really liked the way we were coming back and getting above them. We really tracked the puck well and caused a lot of turnovers that allowed us to get some good transition that just allowed us to be in on the forecheck and recover pucks and then be able to break them down. We would have liked to get in the middle of the ice a little bit more, but it was a tight hockey game, both goalies played well, but those things obviously were a good factor for us." — JOHN TAVARES.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On the third period:

Yeah, we scored that goal, it sets us up to give us a chance to win in the third. The pace of play increased dramatically after that goal. Obviously, they’re pushing. We didn’t handle it well, I thought. When I say that, I thought we handled it very well defensively. I didn’t think we cracked, they had a couple of little chances in and around our net. Other than that, they didn’t have anything, I thought. They score a goal on a point shot. But I didn’t like how we played offensively where we had the puck, we did all the things that we don’t want to be as a team and we just gave it back to them, so we never had a chance to get going.

On if fatigue played a role in the third period:

I’ll let you guys draw some conclusions on that. I’m not focused on that. It’s part of the League. It’s part of the demands of what goes on in the schedule, the ebbs and flows of it. I thought we played a good game and a hard game. I thought we competed. What happens in the third period today is a lot different than what happens yesterday. Yesterday we’re not engaged, we’re not competitive or physical enough and on our heels. This game here I thought we defended very well, defended very hard and didn’t give up the middle of the ice much at all. We just were very poor with the puck. When you have a team that’s pushing, they have the energy of the crowd and you just continuously give them the puck you’re going to be on your heels a lot.

On Jack Campbell’s play:

Yeah, he was there, he obviously didn’t let anything in until the very end and I thought we did a heck of a job protecting him. We didn’t give up very many scoring chances through this game at all. But they’re back-to-back games, he’s been through a lot here this week and he was solid.

On what has led to John Tavares’ scoring streak:

He’s just catching on. We’ve talked about him, he’s a good player, he’s going to have these swings. It’s kind of a waste of time to talk about it when he’s not scoring, because it’s going to turn. So it’s the way that it goes. It’s been great, it’s been good timing. Obviously, we played it out Willy this weekend, so we needed somebody else to step up. And, for me, that’s really the difference in the hockey game today is you don’t win games when you score one goal, it’s very difficult. So I think that’s the way it went this game. We were not able to generate enough offensively in the first and second periods as well. Power play wasn’t very good for us today. So we let that team hang around and when you just have a one goal cushion like that, you leave the door open over for a point shot to catch you.

On Frederik Andersen’s status:

I’m not quite sure where that’s at. I know he did skate again today. While we were here, he skated, and I haven’t got a report on it. So we’ll just have to see how he is when we get back.

TYSON BARRIE (25:02 TOI)

On the third period:

Yeah, give them credit, they came out — we had a good start to the third, obviously, we got one and then from there they kind of controlled the period had us on our heels, like you said. I think we have to do a better job of responding in a way. Getting more O-zone time and not letting them sustain so much pressure but, at the end of the day, we’re trying to hold on to the lead and they get one with two minutes left or whatever. It’s a bit frustrating.

On Jack Campbell’s play:

He was great tonight. He was good all night and makes a great save on the breakaway and it pops right to the guy. Probably not a great shot selection by me on that 3-on-2 but that’s sometimes the way 3-on-3 goes. You’ve got to be a little smarter sometimes.

JACK CAMPBELL (28 SAVES)

On playing in a Toronto-Montreal game:

It’s fun. What a rivalry. Historic and two really solid teams this year. I thought both teams competed really hard and didn’t give each other much. I thought Price at the other end was so solid and we could have easily had a couple more, but at the end of the day I’ve just got to make one more save before overtime and we get two points and that’s what we need right now.

On his performance tonight:

I’m just definitely not happy giving that one up to give them life again and blow that lead in the third. I just know my ability and I’m confident with my team in front of me and they battled all night. One more save and we get two points.

JAKE MUZZIN (24:39 TOI)

On if playing a back-to-back impacted the team’s third period performance:

Maybe a little bit. No excuse, though. Everyone goes through back-to-backs and playing tired and stuff like that. We’ve got to bear down and get it done.

On his long second period shift that included a heavy shot block:

Well, it doesn’t feel good. It’s part of hockey. Sometimes in the second period, you get a long change, you can’t get off. It happens both ways, so it is what it is.

JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL)

On tonight’s third period:

Yeah, obviously we got the lead. They came with a lot momentum, I think, felt some desperation. I think obviously, it’s human nature to be a little bit safer in those certain circumstances, but certainly we’ve got to find a way to get on their half of the ice more and generate some more offense and push to increase our lead and continue to be smart with the puck and defensively. No question the circumstances were tough, but you face that at times this year and, we’ve obviously got to find a way to close them out.

On what the team did well defensively through two periods:

I really liked the way we were coming back and getting above them. We really tracked the puck well and caused a lot of turnovers that allowed us to get some good transition that just allowed us to be in on the forecheck and recover pucks and then be able to break them down. We would have liked to get in the middle of the ice a little bit more, but it was a tight hockey game, both goalies played well, but those things obviously were a good factor for us.

Tavares’ up-close look at Nylander has Leafs captain impressed — Toronto Sun

WINNIPEG — Working on the same line with William Nylander has given Maple Leafs captain John Tavares a greater appreciation of what Nylander potentially brings to each shift. Read More

Tavares’ up-close look at Nylander has Leafs captain impressed — Toronto Sun

MAPLE LEAFS 4, WILD 1 — WHAT THE LEAFS SAID: "I don't think we made as many plays as we're capable of. But it was just one of those games where it felt like ping-pong, especially early, and we were just able to capitalize on some good opportunities and then played with the lead pretty well. We were able to do a pretty good job on special teams. So, just stuck with it and just made it difficult for them." — JOHN TAVARES.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On the team’s defensive performance as efficient:

Yeah, I thought it was good — efficient is a good term to describe it. I didn’t think we gave up a lot defensively, for sure. We didn’t give up many shots or chances, especially in that third period when we expected them to push. I thought we took care of it pretty well there.

On if the way Nylander and Tavares play together is different from when Nylander and Matthews play together:

Yeah, there’s different dynamics at play there. I’ve liked it so far; the chemistry has been good. The nice thing I think that’s come out with the fact that we’ve moved things around here, since I’ve been here, is it’s giving me a pretty good taste of what different things look like. You never know what the season is going to bring and what each game is going to bring. It gives me a feel for different things. Obviously, we’ve used a number of different combinations so far and we like this one and we like a lot of others that have worked too.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (26 SAVES)

On the team’s performance tonight:

I thought we made some good adjustments and definitely played a really solid game. I think we got off to a lead and they had to force some stuff to get back into it. So I think we did a better job of not playing into their hand and forcing too much and made them come to us. I thought we did a good job.

On the forwards and defence working in unison and creating quicker breakouts:

Of course I think any time you can help each other out and make it easier for each other, it’s important. That can make the game less hard. I think guys will take less hits if we play it quicker and help each other out like that.

ALEX KERFOOT (1 GOAL, 100TH NHL POINT)

On William Nylander’s play of late:

He’s been playing really well for a long period of time right now. It’s fun to play with him. He makes plays, he’s hard on pucks and protects the puck down low. So, he makes a lot of stuff happen out there. It’s obviously a pleasure to play with him.

On what has led to the chemistry between himself, Nylander and Tavares:

Well, those two guys are just good hockey players. I think you put anyone on their wing and they’re going to have success. They spend a lot of time in the offensive zone. So, it’s just trying to read off them and make plays and they find space, they make good things happen. So I’m just trying to do my job.

WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On his line getting the first goal of the game from Kerfoot early in the first:

Yeah, it was a great play by Johnny [Tavares] being hard on his stick. There’s kind of a lucky play there in the corner where he lost the puck, but we were able to get possession of it. It’s a great play and a nice goal by Kerf.

On what has allowed he and Tavares to develop chemistry quickly:

I think it’s just that with some players, you just click automatically from the beginning.

On his pass to set up Matthews’ goal on the power play:

I just saw him backdoor and I kind of knew he would be open, so I just tried to get it over there.

JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On tonight’s win:

Yeah, it probably wasn’t the prettiest. I don’t think we made as many plays as we’re capable of. But it was just one of those games where it felt like ping pong, especially early, and we were just able to capitalize on some good opportunities and then played with the lead pretty well. We were able to do a pretty good job on special teams. So, just stuck with it and just made it difficult for them. Just tried to play five inside and really have to make them earn their opportunities and the ice there and then, obviously, try to generate offense ourselves, try to keep the puck and wear them out and make them have to defend.

On the team finding a way to win despite not making as many plays as it can:

You have to have that to win in this league. There are so many good teams, so many good players. Things aren’t going to always go your way. You’re not always going to make the perfect play and mistakes happen and it’s just the nature of our league, our game. So, just staying with it and doing a good job. We regrouped, I thought, pretty well off the timeouts and got back to our game, did some good things and were able to get the win.

RANGERS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 4 (OT). NOTES: John Tavares registered the primary assist on Nylander’s first period goal. Tavares has assists (6) and points (2-6-8) in four consecutive games. He has 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in 12 games during December. In 10 games against Metropolitan Division opposition, Tavares has 12 points (4-8-12).

NEW YORK RANGERS (19-15-4 – 42 Points) vs.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (21-14-5 – 47 Points)

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2019

 123OTFINAL
NEW YORK22015
TORONTO11204

GAME SUMMARY         |           EVENT SUMMARY        |           FACEOFF SUMMARY


ON THE SCORESHEET

  • William Nylander put the Maple Leafs on the board with a power play goal at 4:21 of the first period and later registered the primary assist on Auston Matthews’ third period goal. Nylander has assists (3) in two consecutive games and goals (3) and points (3-3-6) in three consecutive games. He has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) over his last six games played. In two games against the Rangers in 2019-20, he has recorded three goals and two assists.
  • Auston Matthews collected the secondary assist on Nylander’s first period goal and later scored Toronto’s second goal of the game at 7:48 of the second period before scoring Toronto’s fourth goal of the game at 19:08 of the third period. Tonight’s game is Matthews’ seventh multi-goal and 15th multi-point game of the season. His 15 multi-point performances are tied for the sixth-most in the NHL, while his seven multi-goal games are the most in the League. He leads the NHL in 5-on-5 goals (18). Matthews has 12 points (7 goals, 5 assists) over his last six games played. In two games against the Rangers this season, he has recorded two goals and three assists. Matthews has collected 31 (20 goals, 11 assists) of his 45 points on home ice this season.
  • Pierre Engvall scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the night at 6:22 of the third period. Engvall has three goals over his last five games played. He has two goals in two games against the Rangers this season.
  • Mitch Marner had the lone assist on Matthews’ second period goal. Marner has 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) over his last 10 games played. He has three points (2-1-3) in two games against the Rangers this season. He has 22 points (3 goals, 19 assists) in 17 games on home ice.
  • John Tavares registered the primary assist on Nylander’s first period goal. Tavares has assists (6) and points (2-6-8) in four consecutive games. He has 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in 12 games during the month of December. In 10 games against Metropolitan Division opposition, Tavares has 12 points (4-8-12).
  • Tyson Barrie recorded the primary assist on Engvall’s third period goal and later collected the secondary assist on Matthews’ third period goal. Barrie has assists (4) and points (1-4-5) in three consecutive games. He has eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 12 games during the month of December. Ten of his 16 assists have come on home ice.
  • Kasperi Kapanen picked up the secondary assist on Engvall’s third period goal. Kapanen has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games. He has recorded 19 (8 goals, 11 assists) of his 21 points against Eastern Conference opposition.
  • Frederik Andersen stopped 32 of the 37 shots he faced, and a Pavel Buchnevich penalty shot in tonight’s overtime loss. Andersen is 1-for-2 in penalty shot situations this season. Maple Leafs goaltenders have stopped two of the four penalty shots they’ve faced in 2019-20.

SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
NEW YORK10 (9)19 (17)7 (7)1 (0)(33)
TORONTO14 (10)19 (17)12 (9)2 (0)(36)
      

SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
NEW YORK14 (13)29 (23)12 (12)1 (0)(48)
TORONTO27 (18)29 (24)31 (25)2 (0)(67)

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Record at Home10-4-5 (19 Games)
All-Time Record vs. New York288-222-95-11 (616 Games)
All-Time Record vs. New York at Home168-94-39-6 (307 Games)
Record vs. Eastern Conference12-9-5 (26 Games)
Record vs. Metropolitan Division5-4-4 (13 Games)
Attendance19,492

MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS

Shots10 (Rielly)
Shot Attempts13 (Barrie, Matthews, Rielly)
Faceoff Wins19 (Tavares)
Faceoff Win Percentage81% (Matthews – 17 won, 4 lost)
Hits3 (Kapanen)
Blocked Shots(Marincin, Matthews)
Takeaways(Hyman)
TOI25:57 (Rielly)
Power Play TOI3:35 (Five players tied)
Shorthanded TOI1:15 (Marner)
Shifts31 (Rielly)
5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage75% (Brooks, Gauthier – 3 for, 1 against)
  

RECORD WHEN…

Opponent scores first8-11-4
Trail after 13-7-2
Trail after 22-8-2
Score one power play goal7-3-3
Do not allow a power play goal11-5-1
Outshoot opponent10-4-2
Overtime5-5
Saturday8-2-3

OF NOTE…

  • The Maple Leafs went 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and went 1-for-2 on the power play tonight.
  • Adam Brooks played his first career NHL game.
  • Adam Brooks and Frederik Gauthier started 20 percent of their 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone, which was the lowest mark among Toronto skaters.
  • Auston Matthews won a career-high 17 faceoffs in tonight’s game. He won 80 percent (8 won, 2 lost) of his draws when matched up against New York centre Mika Zibanejad.
  • Morgan Rielly was on the ice for a team-high 33 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5 tonight. Rielly finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 60 percent (33 for, 22 against).
  • John Tavares won 79 percent (11 won, 3 lost) of his offensive zone faceoffs.

UPCOMING GAMES:

  • Tuesday, December 31, 6:00 p.m. at Minnesota Wild (Sportsnet Ontario, TSN 1050)
  • Thursday, January 2, 8:00 p.m. at Winnipeg Jets (TSN4, FAN 590)
  • Saturday, January 4, 7:00 p.m. vs. New York Islanders (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)
  • Monday, January 6, 7:00 p.m. vs. Edmonton Oilers (TSN4, TSN 1050)
  • Wednesday, January 8, 7:30 p.m. vs. Winnipeg Jets (Sportsnet, FAN 590)

Maple Leafs captain Tavares lines up behind coach with plenty of confidence — Toronto Sun

John Tavares loves playing with Mitch Marner on his wing, but if Sheldon Keefe sees fit to keep Marner with Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs captain is cool with that. “He’s trying to do what’s best for the team and get us to play the best we can,” Tavares said of his coach. “We all […]

Maple Leafs captain Tavares lines up behind coach with plenty of confidence — Toronto Sun