Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
On a great effort in a back-to-back situation:
I thought we started good. We got the goal and I thought everyone relaxed and we got playing. I thought everyone skated real good tonight — maybe as good as we’ve skated all year. All four lines were good. It’s a real good win for our team. Any time you win back to back, especially with the way Dallas has been playing. Dallas has been playing real good. Hitch does a good job. You know it was going to be a tight game. It was a good win for our team.
On whether it was a stroke of genius to put Mitch Marner next to Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau:
I don’t think so at all. I think, obviously, we had played Matty and Mitch together a bunch of times, whether that be 4-on-4 or whatever, and we thought it was okay. Naz was starting to come around anyway. He had gone on a bit of a spell and wasn’t great, and then was really starting to play and that line was really playing good for us but hadn’t scored yet. Getting Mitch on their line — he obviously made a nice play here tonight, but it gives is a different look. With Leo there, we could put him in on a d-zone faceoff and use him all over. That was positive, too.
I thought Kapanen was really good for us. He gave us four lines with good speed.
On Curtis McElhinney’s performance after a long layoff for him:
I thought he was solid. That’s what we pay him to do — we pay him to be here and be supportive and play when he’s asked to play. He’s a good pro.
On whether he’s going to go back to the old lines when the team returns home:
Obviously, they played good. I saw that, too. We’ll just kind of do what we did here a bit tonight. Got Leo a few times in the d-zone, put Leo with Bozak a few times, and just used people. The good thing about it is we’ve got a break and we’ve got lots of time to think about that.