Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team moved to 6-1-0 on the season with a 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
Given the team’s struggles on the latter half of back-to-backs last season, how important was it getting this first one under your belt and moving forward?
Babcock: For sure. It’s nice that the first one is at home as opposed to on the road, too, so you can match up accordingly. We used everybody last night; had a four-line rotation, so that helped us as well because they were fresher than they might’ve been. Thought it took us a bit to get going. Even though we scored, it took us a bit to get skating. Once we got skating, I thought we got better as the game went on.
You get the result you wanted from your goaltending last night, and tonight, obviously.
Babcock: I thought Mac had a real solid effort for us when we weren’t very good early. They had 14 around our net. He had to be good early.
Trying to come up with a frame of reference for how Auston Matthews shoots the puck, in your experience, who have you seen that reminds you of that?
Babcock: I don’t really know. For me, over my experience anyway, the guys that I’ve coached — the center ice men I coached — don’t really shoot the puck like that. I couldn’t tell you that for sure. I just know he’s a good player. He’s getting better all the time.
Naz’s group, I thought, was our best group tonight by far. They were dialled in right from start to finish. Big night for Patty Marleau, when you look at that 1,500 games. I was looking at it and Zetterberg, I think, was at 1,004 and I think he’s been playing forever. So that’s how long Patty has been playing, and he’s still a very good player.
This early in the year, is there any pride in being up at the top of the standings now?
Babcock: For sure. We had a good first segment. We’re off 2-0 in our second segment. We just try to keep evaluating our group every five games. What have you done for me lately, kind of thing. We’re going in the right direction, which is positive. I thought our win last night was a good win. We got careless at times, but it was still a good win. We got careless at times tonight, and then we were able to be mature enough and under control enough to get back in and get playing right, which is positive.