Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 1-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 20-10-1 on the season.
On getting out ahead early and holding on for the win:
It started by scoring first, obviously. They got away on the other team early last night, so we knew we had to start on time, and we did. I thought our goaltender was real good. Our penalty killing was outstanding. In the end, we spent too much time in our own zone, but it’s a big night on a back-to-back and a good win for us.
On the team’s 5-0-0 record without Auston Matthews:
We’re not trying to have him out of the lineup, but it’s nice we can win without him, obviously. He’s got an upper-body… I don’t know, whatever. I think he’ll be ready to go [for Tuesday] but I’m not 100% sure. We’ll just go and see what the trainers say. We expected him here tonight, but it’ll just depend on how he feels.
On William Nylander’s play at center in Matthews’ absence:
I thought he did good. I thought he really started good. He got an assist on the game-winning goal. I thought he skated real good. When you haven’t played center in a while and your first game is a 1-0 game and it’s going to be tense the whole third period, it’s not the easiest one to play. You rather play a 5-0 game and cruise around and play on offense. I thought he did good. His wingers can obviously really help there, but I though he did good. He wasn’t involved in anything negative, I guess is what I’d say to you. He wanted to play there. I gave him the option today of whether he wanted to play the wall or play in the middle. He wanted to play in the middle and we gave him a chance. I think that’s a good thing.
On whether he is in awe of McDavid’s abilities:
It’s real good, obviously. He’s a talented, talented guy and he can flat out fly. Let’s be honest — they’ve got a really talented team. They’ve got lots of players out there. Lots and lots. I mean, their center ice has got to be as good as any in the National Hockey League, doesn’t it? I think [so]. They look like a real good team to me.
On the team’s two-minute 5-on-3 kill:
I mean, they missed some shots and we had good goaltending. Our guys did a good job. I didn’t like the 5-on-3 call. You’ve got to be sure when you put a guy down 5-on-3. But that’s life.