Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 6-4 win in Edmonton on Thursday night.
On the team’s performance:
I just think that we started really good. I thought we really controlled the first period. I thought they really controlled the second. In this league, if you start on time, things tend to go well for you. Our power play was really dangerous here tonight. Willy, for the minutes he played, was as good as you can play. Our fourth line was good.
They’re a dangerous team and they do real well off the rush. They activate their D. I thought the game was probably exciting for the fans. Wasn’t very exciting for me. But, in the end, you found a way to win a game. That’s what you’ve got to do on the road. Sometimes they’re ugly, but you find a way to win.
On the impact of the Oilers’ fourth line on the game:
I guess the way I look at it, too, is Willy was playing on our fourth line, and he had three [points]. You don’t draw it up like that. You think McDavid and Matthews and those kind of guys are going to have their opportunities, but that’s the way it goes some nights. That’s why you have four lines and six D.
On whether William Nylander is starting to gather some confidence out of his points streak:
Yeah, but he’s got the same amount of points as he had last year. If you look at it today, he’s going to have more points than he did last year. I don’t know what it’s all about. Just play hard and work hard. You’re a really talented player. The league is really hard. Your first year, no one knows who you are, and after that, they know who you are. If you want to be a star, you’ve got to dig in and become an every day’er. It’s a hard league. It’s supposed to be a hard league. The best league in the world is supposed to be hard. If you want to be a guy who becomes a star, it’s about heart and soul and digging in and getting better.
On the team’s 10-0-0 record when leading after two periods:
Knock on wood here. Obviously, it’s important. You want to get ahead and stay ahead and you want to win games. You want to be able to close out games. I thought that tonight, when we went ahead — even though there wasn’t much time left — we still did a good job in that area.
On Auston Matthews gutting it out despite being under the weather:
I thought that line was dominant in the first and then I didn’t think they were quite as good after that. And yet, they were still solid. He was good in the faceoff circle. He had great opportunities. The kid in net made two unbelievable saves off of him. In the end, we won the game and that’s why you come to the rink. A good night for us and we can move on from here.