LEAFS 2, LIGHTNING 1. WHAT THE LEAFS SAID: “This is another really close hockey game that we’ve had to play here and, again, at 5-on-5 we were outscored today. That’s been a challenge for us. That’s something that obviously we’ve worked at, but when you’re going up against the best offensive team in the NHL, you’re going to give up a great deal. When we did, Freddie (Andersen) was outstanding, in the second period especially. There were a lot of very good things for us and we’ll take two very important points.” –SHELDON KEEFE

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On the team having success putting the game away in the third period tonight:

I think it’s a confidence thing. That’s part of it. So yeah, I do. I don’t think that’s characteristic that a team has. I think it’s something that comes and goes, kind of with your confidence as a team. We haven’t really been going as a team, so we haven’t had that. This is another really close hockey game that we’ve had to play here and, again, at 5-on-5 we were outscored today. That’s been a challenge for us. That’s something that obviously we’ve worked at, but when you’re going up against the best offensive team in the NHL, you’re going to give up a great deal. When we did, Freddie [Andersen] was outstanding, in the second period especially. There were a lot of very good things for us and we’ll take two very important points.

On Morgan Rielly’s play tonight:

I thought he was pretty good, all things considered. He hasn’t played and it’s a tough game – especially in that second period. It’s hard for our defence to get off the ice and they’re really coming. It looked like it was taking a toll on him physically, in terms of his conditioning. It’s one thing to train, as we all know and say, and practice in the gym and all that, but it is a whole different ballgame. Just his legs and the way he skates, all of a sudden, he jumps into a hole – whether it’s offensively or defensively he’ll cover for you – he has instincts along the offensive blueline, waits above for the defensive pucks. He plays the whole game.

On if anything over the last couple of days led to a strong start tonight:

We’ve talked a lot about our starts and consistency in our play. I thought we started really well. It was a combination of a really good start for us, but I don’t think it was a good start for Tampa. I thought we moved the puck extremely well. It was a game we just played with the puck on our stick a lot. That’s when we are frustrating. We just kept coming and had lots of chances, lots of time with the puck. It was a really good period for us in that sense, we didn’t have to defend very much at all. That was a real key for us was to try to keep the puck out of their hands and in their end.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL)

On having a few days between the California trip and tonight:

You have lots of time to reflect, it’s a five-hour flight so kick back and relax and nice to get a couple days off and try to get adjusted back to the time zone and time change and everything. Then have a good day of practice and just try to come out like we did tonight. The second period, I think, it got away from us a bit, lots of penalties but I think our first period is a good starting point for us and how we want to play. We’ve got to make sure we do that more consistently and throughout the game.

On Morgan Rielly’s leadership:

He’s extremely vocal and I think he’s a guy that everyone looks up to. I know for myself he’s one of my closest friends on the team and someone that helped me out, especially my first couple years. I spent a lot of time with him and I still do. He’s a great leader and a great teammate and really good person. To go along with his hockey abilities, he’s a guy we’re definitely happy to have back.

WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL)

On tonight’s win:

Well, obviously, the PK was great, and I think our power play got some big important goals today. We played solid through the first and third periods, so we want to clean up that second period.

On what was the key to the strong start tonight:

I think we had a couple days to feel fresh and we felt we were buzzing already in warmups.

On what worked well on the power play tonight:

I think we just kept it simple, tried to move it around and make easy plays and not force anything really. It was really good work.

MORGAN RIELLY (21:47 TOI)

On the important of consistency this time of year:

Yeah, we’ve talked about that before, we’ve talked about being more consistent and I think now more than ever, just given the standings, the time of year and remaining games, I think it’s an opportunity for us to start to play well and build some momentum. I think if you look back to this time last year our performances weren’t what we wanted them to be in time for playoffs and this year we’ve got a chance to fix that and change that. It’s important that we take that seriously and take the good things here tonight and talk about it tomorrow.

On the key to the strong first period:

Well, I think we moved the puck quick; we’re not holding onto it. For me, I think it was just D-zone execution and the importance of that. Going back, if we’re able to breakout, quick and create speed that way, it just seems to be smoother for us. It’s when you go back for pucks and you get beat back for pucks and you lose races, that’s when you tend to get hemmed in. I think that if we focus on that and that rhythm it creates more of a support system and we can move the puck forward with speed through the neutral zone.

DUCKS 2, LEAFS 1. WHAT THEY SAID: “I have belief — full belief — in this team as far as their goal-scoring ability. Obviously, we’re a little snake-bitten right now, but I think they played well enough to score a couple and I just take ownership of that second one. If I can see it, I expect myself to stop it every time and he just beat me clean so that one’s on me and we should have had at least a point.” –JACK CAMPBELL

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On the need to attack the opposition’s net to generate more offence next week:

Obviously, when you look at the last couple games on this trip, we haven’t been able to generate much offensively. So that’s part of it. You look at a lot of the goals that we’ve scored here in recent games, a lot of it’s been happening around the net. We need to have more of a presence in there, but it’s an interesting road trip. You’d never think that our team would give up two goals in two games and only come away with one point, you’d probably think we were talking about a different team, but that’s the reality, that’s the way it was this week. The offence dried up for us, a lot of things that have been going in for us haven’t and didn’t on this trip and we don’t get results as a result.

On the challenge of keeping the team’s spirits up after the road trip:

Well, it’s difficult, but I think just the fact that our team takes a lot of heat for how we defend and what we give up and how many goals we give up and all those types of things and how wide-open games are. We’ve focused a lot on that as a team, in terms of slowing a lot of that stuff down. I think we’ve done that for quite a while here now — and now today wasn’t as good as yesterday in that regard, but we’ve got to find ways within that to generate offence. I think that the positives are that our guys will feel good about the fact that they’re playing in these tight games and feel good about the fact on the back-to-back at the end of the trip here that we have our best period in the third and have a pretty strong push throughout the period, but we’ll regroup and be ready on home ice.

On the power play drying up in recent games:

Yeah, it has gone dry. Really, what I’m seeing is a lot of the shots that had been going in for us aren’t going in, in recent games. So when that happens, we’ve got to really look at things and see what we can change and see what we can do a little differently to find some different looks and change things up a little bit. Now, we’ve scored at pretty much a ridiculous pace for quite some time here now and over time those things dry up a little bit and you’ve got to make adjustments.

JACK CAMPBELL (26 SAVES)

On the pressure on him to be perfect when the team is struggling to score goals:

I have belief — full belief — in this team as far as their goal-scoring ability. Obviously, we’re a little snake-bitten right now, but I think they played well enough to score a couple and I just take ownership of that second one. If I can see it, I expect myself to stop it every time and he just beat me clean so that one’s on me and we should have had at least a point.

On his save on Getzlaf while shorthanded to end the second period:

Yeah, it was battling. It was a strange play at the net, it kind of went off a shin pad or something, I made a right pad save and the game kind of slowed down a little bit and I kind of saw it play out. I just tried to get my glove up and luckily, he put it there. So I’ll take that one for sure.

MITCH MARNER (22:26 TOI)

On the level of frustration at the recent lack of scoring for the team:

I just think we know it’s going to come so there’s no need to rush or put pressure on ourselves. We’re a team that can score and this road trip we showed that we can play in low-scoring games, it’s just our scoring wasn’t there, but it’ll come.

On what the team needs to do to generate more greasy goals:

Yeah, I just think those second opportunities. It starts with all of us. From our D to our forwards, we all come up top, we all get those shots through and tonight and through this road trip forward-wise, when we come in as F3, we’re not getting those shots through. We’re making those turnovers happen and getting caught with our D down and I just think ruining a little bit of chemistry and stuff like that. So, like I said, we know it’s going to turn around, there’s no reason to feel like we should put pressure on ourselves and we’ve just got to stay calm with it.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (23:03 TOI)

On the team having the personnel to be able to push through this week’s slump:

We’re all in this together. You play through the good and the bad and the adversity and obviously, in the position that we’re in, there’s lots of critics and lots of stuff that comes with it. But I think in this room we’re headstrong, and it doesn’t matter what’s going to get thrown our way, we’re going to come out of it stronger. Obviously, not the road trip that that we really wanted. So, that’s on us and we’ve got to just build forward and put this aside, learn from it and be better.

On what has prevented the team from generating offence:

I think it’s no secret you come on this road trip, it’s not easy and I think the teams that we played they’re more — their strategy and kind of structure is more to just kind of defend and push you to the outside and let you make the mistakes first. I think for us, we didn’t really challenge the middle of the goalie, he didn’t really have too many tough saves to make. I think that’s a bit of an issue for us right now. I think it’s a little bit of our structure too. I think we’re kind of one foot in the door, one foot out as far as the way we want to play, and I think we just all need to be 100 percent in.

JOHN TAVARES (21:18 TOI)

On what has led to a lack of goals in recent games:

Well, it’s that time of year, things get tighter. You don’t have as much room as maybe you get at times throughout the season. We’ve just got to find a way to get second and third opportunities, get a couple ugly ones. I thought we pressed hard and stayed with it. Obviously, we just didn’t cash in.

On if the struggle to score has led to the team playing tight:

Yeah, maybe. At times, I guess it’s just, honestly, don’t even think about where you’re putting it, just get it on net. I think get bodies there, find a way to cause some confusion, make it tough on them to have to defend you around their net, make it tough on the goaltender. Just got to stay patient, got to keep working and staying with it. Obviously, we’ve got to find a way to put some in and get some results. There was a lot of good things. Just got to find a way to, like I said, get inside that tough part of the ice. That’s tough to get opportunities at this time of year.

KINGS 1, LEAFS 0 (SO). WHAT THEY SAID: “It was a great game, a beautiful game. It was great to play behind a team like that. The way we played made it easy for me. It was unfortunate, obviously, we couldn’t get the extra point.” –FREDERIK ANDERSEN.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On tonight’s game:

I thought it was a pretty even hockey game all the way through. I thought our team did a good job in the game, especially as we got through that first period, staying with the process just with the way that they play, clogging the neutral zone and defend really well. I thought as we found our way through that, adjusted in the second and third I thought we did a good job as a team. It’s a game that really could have gone either way. We’re happy to get one point, we could have two in overtime or the shootout, it didn’t go our way in that sense, but not a lot to complain about for us as a group.

On how the team managed frustration when it couldn’t convert scoring chances:

I thought they dealt with it pretty well at times. I think they were 0-for-3 on breakaways so the guys that are missing those type of chances, you can see there’s a little frustration setting in, but in terms of the way the game was going I thought we managed it okay. At times I felt we turned it over a little bit through the neutral zone, but that’s the number one team in the NHL at holding their blueline. They’re going to make it hard on you, you know that going into the game and they did that at times. I thought we stayed with it, Fred in net was outstanding for us. We just couldn’t find a way to get one in. Tonight is a night where we need our power play to be the difference. So if there’s an area we’d like to certainly be better in, that would be it.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (30 SAVES)

On playing behind tonight’s defensive effort:

It was a great game, a beautiful game. It was great to play behind a team like that. The way we played made it easy for me. It was unfortunate, obviously, we couldn’t get the extra point.

On how he felt after a few days without playing:

I felt pretty dialed in.

On how unusual it is for the team to be shutout:

I mean, he played incredible down there too. So I don’t think that’s odd. He’s one of the best in the League, I think, when he’s on his game. We could have easily scored but he pulled out some nice saves when we had our chances.

KYLE CLIFFORD (5 HITS)

On Jonathan Quick’s performance tonight:

Yeah, he’s a — Quick is a competitor. Obviously, he had a pretty good game and I felt like he stole it for them.

On tonight’s performance:

I thought for the most part we controlled the game, we played pretty well. We had a lot of scoring chances. I’m familiar with them, I know they’re a tight defensive team. It just would have been nice to come out with the win here.

Andersen returns to Leafs crease on Thursday versus Kings — Toronto Sun

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Sheldon Keefe’s head triumphed over his heart. Read More

Andersen returns to Leafs crease on Thursday versus Kings — Toronto Sun

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Sheldon Keefe’s head triumphed over his heart.

Rather than give goaltender Jack Campbell a start on Thursday against his former club, the Los Angeles Kings, Keefe will turn to Frederik Andersen after Campbell was sharp against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Campbell will start on Friday in Anaheim against the Ducks, giving Andersen another rest.

“The biggest thought process for us is we wanted to get Jack in two out of three games this week,” Keefe said. “That trumps anything in terms of him playing against his former team.

“Also, Fred’s our starting goaltender. It makes sense for him coming off (the fact) he didn’t play (Tuesday) night, had a full practice day (Wednesday) and he goes in and plays a game. He deserves that. At this time of year especially, you have to make those right decisions.”

Keefe has spoken of load management regarding Andersen, without using those words specifically.

Andersen has made 50 starts this season, tying him for third-most in the NHL prior to games on Wednesday. Campbell gives the Leafs a legitimate, don’t-need-to-worry backup, and we assume Campbell will be used more in the final month of the regular season.

Defenceman Rasmus Sandin will be back in the lineup after sitting in San Jose, with Calle Rosen likely to be scratched.

— Terry Koshan

SHARKS 5, LEAFS 2. WHAT THEY SAID: “Most of that second period they dominated us. They did what they wanted to and we didn’t win enough puck battles. The only reason we really had a chance going into that third period was because of Jack (Campbell). He played great tonight like usual for us and made it feel possible, got us through that second period and that third we just gave up too many chances. We weren’t stopping on pucks or being strong enough on pucks and it came back to haunt us.” –MITCH MARNER.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On tonight’s loss:

They played really hard today. We just finished a stretch of games here where we played against some of the top teams in the League. For me, that was a harder game for us to play today, just the pace the puck moved, the pace that their feet moved, how competitive they were. Our inability to respond to that and find another level in our game causes a problem where we just — the ice tilted in that second period and we just couldn’t get it back. So that was really tough. The third period to me was pretty even, we just gave up some chances that ended up in our net, but the second period was where they really established their game and took it to us. Strange as it is, that’s the one that we win. We win that period of the three. So we’re in a good spot to try and play there in the third but we gave up too many chances and eventually cost us. You don’t win games when you score two goals.

On Jack Campbell’s play tonight:

I thought he battled all through that second period. There’s a lot of shots, a lot of pucks coming at him. He made some great saves for us there to keep us in the game and give us a chance to win that period and then set us up for the third. Some of the goals — when you look at the goals that go in, there’s some funny stuff happening behind the net, behind the goal line, stuff like that, but he battled and made saves for us. As I said, their goaltender made saves too. We had some real high-end chances that didn’t go in for us, but we’ve got to find a way to generate more than two goals if we want to have a chance to win, and then we can’t give up nearly what we gave up today. A lot of things that haven’t been issues for us in terms of odd-man rushes against and guys getting behind us — we’ve been talking about how we’ve cleaned that up pretty well, but It came back into our game today, I think, in part due to the pace of play, and we just didn’t respond well to it.

JACK CAMPBELL (33 SAVES)

On what San Jose did well in the second period:

I just know they got a lot better. I’m just disappointed. I thought we played, we battled and, you know, I just think Jones outplayed me, bottom line. So I’m not happy about that and I just feel responsible for this one.

On if San Jose is known for lively boards when pucks are shot into the zone:

I’ve played well here before and yeah, I don’t know what was going on there. They must have greased them up before the game. The pucks were coming off pretty strange angles, but no excuses. I’ve just got to find the puck and make the save.

On if he felt any rust after not playing the prior seven games:

No. I felt sharp and dialed in and no excuse for giving up four. It’s just not acceptable.

MITCH MARNER (1 GOAL)

On where the game got away from the team:

Most of that second period they dominated us. They did what they wanted to and we didn’t win enough puck battles. The only reason we really had a chance going into that third period was because of Jack. He played great tonight like usual for us and made it feel possible, got us through that second period and that third we just gave up too many chances. We weren’t stopping on pucks or being strong enough on pucks and it came back to haunt us.

On if the team is still learning how to be more consistent when things go wrong:

I think it’s just the consistency of every shift. It’s just knowing that you want to watch guys go on before you and battle, get in lanes. Coming into this game we talked about how they have one of the best, if not the best guy, at getting pucks through. When that’s happening, we know their game plan is going to be trying to get pucks through on tips, high tips, low tips. We need guys to get in lanes, we need guys to sacrifice for each other and I think that’s something that we’re just missing. It’s just guys needing to buy in more and getting themselves ready.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On trying to play catch up tonight:

Yeah, they play fast. I think the momentum kind of tipped their way and I think we didn’t really do a very good job of getting it back. I think they just kept coming and coming and a lot of times, we just had no pushback. Tough to get stuff going that way.

On San Jose making a big push in the second period: 

Yeah, for sure. I think we just got caught out there and they were able to just continue to play in our zone and kind of tire us out, tire our back end out and just kind of wear on us. So, like I said, they came with a good push there and we just really had no answer.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, CANUCKS 2. WHAT THEY SAID: “I think everyone is contributing. I think that’s been awesome. Great for [Marincin] to get the game winner — what a goal, right? That really gets the bench alive and that was awesome. Obviously, we’re short on staff on the back on D but all those guys are stepping up and playing great. It was three great wins.” –ZACH HYMAN.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On contributions from all lines and D pairings tonight:

Well, the depth guys today did a great job for us. Not only providing offence but they gave us good shifts, worked hard, carried play for us, for the most part, when they were out there. We’re asking a lot of our defence — all our defence that are out there — we’re asking a lot of them to play different roles than they have all season for most of them. Guys did a good job. Marty [Marincin] did a good job all game, and yet had a tough stretch to end the second period there and he got quite tired. I believe his minutes were reaching a minute for [that shift]. He regrouped and made a big-time play there. I’ve come to only expect highlight reels from Marty with the Marlies. Every time he scored it was a memorable goal.

On what he has learned about the group over the last week:

I think just we’re working. We look like what we’re capable of when we’re going about it properly in terms of our preparation and our habits and our work ethic, competitiveness. And, frankly, I thought today we weren’t at the same level we were at on the road. The game was just different. I just thought we weren’t as sharp as we were on the road, so I didn’t love that, obviously. But, just once again, just responding to that first period and finding our way through all the ups and downs of it and then the game settles down and we stayed with it. We didn’t generate nearly as much offence as I thought we were capable of and would have liked to. We got enough to win the game. Not a perfect game defensively by any means, but volume of shots and activity at our net with our defence the way that it is and what we’re asking everybody to do. I think we did a nice job with everybody stepping up and it’s been a collective effort.

On the importance of trying to expand the gap on Florida in the standings this week:

We’ve got to win our games. That’s really all we can focus on thus all we need to take care of. It’s going to be important for us here to take this week, we feel good about it, now we’ve got a little bit of time here before we get going and play on Tuesday and we’re going to travel out there. We’re going to play against teams when you look at the standings that you’re going to think that there’s real opportunity there for us. But we’ve been watching those teams and looking at it. They’ve been playing good hockey and they’ve beaten good teams, those teams out there. It’s going to be competitive games. They’re important games for us, nonetheless. We’ve done pretty well on the road. Obviously, this week we did really well on the road. The sun worked in our favour so hopefully that will continue.

On the connection between the loss last Saturday to Carolina and the three-game win streak:

Well I think the only real connection, obviously, is there’s a real shock to the system when you have a night like that, right? You really get everyone’s attention. So that’s really what I would say. I think — it’s funny how you want to look at it, right? If you look at a six-game sample there, we had three games that were pretty messy. Or you look at a [five] game sample and four out of the five that we’ve played here — the Pittsburgh game on home ice, two road games and tonight. The connection is just we got a wakeup call. When we ended on the road, we got the guys attention on the importance of getting your stuff together, responding well. It’s going to be tough the rest of the way, all the way through, and we can’t have any lapses.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (25 SAVES)

On what has led to the team’s lower event defensive efforts in recent games:

I think we really bought in to the way we want to play, and I think guys are doing a great job of selecting shots, especially down the end and obviously leading to some good goals. Just chill the game and I think we’ve been playing really tight as a group, so the resiliency has been great.

On bouncing back after allowing a couple of goals early:

Yeah, you said it. Just regroup and focus on what’s next. It doesn’t matter what’s happened, you can’t do anything about it early, but the most important thing is to focus on what’s next and that’s the next shot so all I can focus on.

ZACH HYMAN (1 GOAL)

On the three-game win streak:

Yeah, they’re not perfect games, for sure, but they are all wins, and they are all games where we’re playing against really good opponents and we have to battle in them and really earn our wins. So three huge games for us and it’s big.

On what he’s liked most from his team in the last three games:

I think everyone is contributing. I think that’s been awesome. Great for [Marincin] to get the game winner — what a goal, right? That really gets the bench alive and that was awesome. Obviously, we’re short on staff on the back on D but all those guys are stepping up and playing great. It was three great wins.

MARTIN MARINCIN (GAME-WINNING GOAL)

On his goal:

I just got a great pass by [Tavares] and the ice was open. I had good speed, so I felt like it was going to be a good shot and I was going to try. It goes in.

On his reaction to the goal:

I was so, so happy. It’s my first goal this season. I was excited for that and that goal made it 3-2 for us. Really good goal in the third period, that was good for the team, I think. I was excited.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL)

On a full team effort tonight:

It’s great, obviously love to see when you’ve got multiple lines with all guys contributing. Awesome to see Marv’s goal, it was unbelievable, so I think everyone was pretty excited after that one.

On if he’d seen Marincin score a goal like that before:

I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it before; you don’t see it often from old Marv but when he brings it out it’s usually a treat. It was pretty fun to watch.

LEAFS 4, LIGHTNING 3 — WHAT THEY SAID: “We get scored on first and we don’t let it snowball. I thought we just gathered ourselves and made a couple little tactical adjustments that the guys caught on to quickly. I thought it turned the game for us in the first period there. So we’ve got ourselves the lead and then gave it up, then came back and built an even bigger lead. Just a lot of really good things. Then the third period, we just have to — you know that they’re going to have a really strong push and it’s important for us to not crack. They get the one and we stayed with it even shorthanded on the back end. Some guys battled really hard.” –SHELDON KEEFE.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On what he liked in tonight’s win:

Yeah, a lot of things. We get scored on first and we don’t let it snowball. I thought we just gathered ourselves and made a couple little tactical adjustments that the guys caught on to quickly. I thought it turned the game for us in the first period there. So we’ve got ourselves the lead and then gave it up, then came back and built an even bigger lead. Just a lot of really good things. Then the third period, we just have to — you know that they’re going to have a really strong push and it’s important for us to not crack. They get the one and we stayed with it even shorthanded on the back end. Some guys battled really hard. A lot of really positive things for us in terms of winning a close game.

On if he feels a game like tonight is how the team grows:

I certainly do. I’ve said we talked about, it’s that feeling, it’s going through it, it’s finding a way, it’s losing a leader in the back end in Jake Muzzin. Just finding a way to get it done and not cracking. I thought we did a good job. They had a push, they threw a lot of pucks at our net in that third period, but I think if you were to go through it you would see there wasn’t a whole lot of quality in terms of scoring chances or anything like that. The guys did a nice job of protecting the net and Freddie made solid saves and didn’t let anything get in at the end there for us. A lot of really good things — the penalty kill, power play.

On the severity of Muzzin’s injury:

We don’t know. We’re going to have to see how it is here tomorrow and kind of go from there. He obviously wasn’t well enough to return. We’ll give it tonight and get more information tomorrow.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (26 SAVES)

On the performance of the defence after losing Muzzin for the third period:

Yeah, I thought we did a really good job of just kind of covering up for each other and playing hard. I think throughout the whole group was great today. The PK was great, we generated some offence off of that and some huge momentum and then the power play did their thing, so it was a great game overall.

On Nylander’s goal:

I didn’t see it until after, but it was pretty special. I think it just creates extra reach for him and you don’t really expect it so not everyone can pull that off but good for Willy. It’s pretty.

TYSON BARRIE (2 ASSISTS)

On tonight’s win:

I think it was great. I think we played a really solid game. We had a good response to what happened to us last week. It shows a lot of character in this team, and then having [Muzzin] go down and the guys just kind of battling and grinding out a third period is a really good sign for us.

On what he liked best about tonight’s performance:

I think just the way that we responded to some adversity. We’ve got guys go down and they make a big push in the third, but we don’t break like we have in the past. Everyone just kind of mucked it up there at the end and we got the two points, which is what we need right now.

WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On his goal:

I didn’t really have time to think, it just kind of happened, but it was a nice to put one in, that’s for sure.

On the play Mitch Marner made to get him the puck:

He had a good stick there and then he waited him out. He put his stick to the inside, so he was able to feed it down to me, which was great because I had some space down there by myself.

On if he was trying to elevate the shot:

Yeah, I can’t really see anything so I’m going by feel. But obviously, yeah, you have to get it up there you want to score. Vasilevskiy is good along the ice, so you’ve got to get it up.

JOHN TAVARES (2 GOALS)

On what he liked about tonight’s win:

Just sticking with it. We didn’t get down. We didn’t get away from the way we needed to play when things didn’t go our way. We did a lot of good things tonight, in terms of the way we want to play the game, to our identity. Also, just this time of year, it’s a battle out there each and every shift. Just staying with it and understanding that it’s not always pretty but just digging in, playing hard, playing as a group, sticking with it, doing what we need to do. It’s one game, so build on it and obviously each game only gets more important as we go.

On how tough it is to see Jake Muzzin suffer an injury:

Yeah, he’s such a key player for us. He’s been playing great. No question it’s a big loss, but at the same time we can’t hang our heads and think ‘why us?’ As a group, collectively, we’ve got to all continue to step up and fill that void and continue to play better. When guys get more opportunity, that’s their chance to take advantage of it, relish it and thrive with it.