Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-2 loss in Columbus on Wednesday night.

On the struggles defensively in the opening period that made it an uphill climb for the team in this game:

I didn’t think it was necessarily defense. I just felt we didn’t compete hard enough. I thought their team competed harder than us. We had the best back-to-back you can have. Sometimes, with a back-to-back, you get in at two in the morning and all of that stuff. We were in at eight o’clock last night, so there is no excuse for us not to be ready here today. We weren’t good enough.

We had the Bozak line, and some D, but we didn’t have enough forwards.

On the team trying to find consistency:

It’s interesting. I was reading something today somewhere. (Josh) Bailey from the Islanders was talking about being a good pro and how you learn how to do it and you bring it every day. We’re not at that stage, obviously. We’ve got to keep working at it so we can bring it every single day and compete at a high level. I’m not trying to take anything away from their team. I thought their team worked hard tonight. But I thought we could’ve been better.

On Jake Gardiner’s performance (one goal, but played a role in two against):

Yeah, I mean, not good enough.

On Curtis McElhinney being hard on himself after the game:

Yeah, I mean, he fit in with our group. We weren’t good enough tonight. Some of our losses were when we were playing lots of hockey, or something like that. There were reasons for that. There was no reason for this tonight for me. I thought we could’ve been better. To me, I thought the Bozak line obviously dominated the game. I thought they were they best they’ve been all year, which is really good for us. But we didn’t have enough hands on deck. That’s it.

On how the defense is dealing with the loss of Nikita Zaitsev so far:

We’re not as good without him, obviously. I didn’t think that part was the issue, to be honest with you.

On Nazem Kadri’s nine-game points-scoring slump:

He’s just got to get back to work. That’s all. Just like anybody, it goes in ebbs and flows. But you’ve got to get back to work. We need him to be better.