Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday, the Leafs’ 12th win in their last 14 games.
On the team’s performance despite the win:
Obviously, we weren’t very good. Anybody who watches us regular knows that we weren’t very good. I saw it coming yesterday in practice. I talked about it then. Our preparation wasn’t good enough. That said, we battled away and found a way to get points, whether that be specialty teams or whether that be a few good plays. We were able to get two points, and in the end, they add up.
On Auston Matthews’ status after he left the game injured late in the third period:
We’ll know in the morning.
On Tyler Bozak’s ability in the shootout:
I think he’s got hot here lately and is feeling good about himself. He’s playing good. Obviously, a key shot for us and a big win. Freddy doing what he did was a big part of it as well. I thought Bozie’s line was probably our best line tonight.
On the improvements in the shootout this season:
I mean, we didn’t score in it last year. It costs you. We’ve scored in it this year. It makes your goalie feel better, too, obviously. You need the points, and yet, as you know, we’re coming to a season where it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to out-play the other team and do it right. The shootout… I think the 3-on-3 overtime and the shootout are fun for the fans, but the season we want to play in doesn’t have that.
On the team’s recent form:
We’ve played real well here. But tonight… we’re not talking about tonight, though. That’s a different thing. We just won the game. We’ve played real well here of late. We’ve worked real hard and been real organized and I think have done things right. We got off it here. We have to get back on it tomorrow, obviously. But it’s good. You want to have a real good home record. You want the other team to look at it when they come and say, “Hey, this team… it’s going to be a tough night.” I think, normally, we play like that. Tonight, we didn’t, though.
On the rotation between Connor Carrick and Roman Polak on the right side of the bottom pair:
Polie and [Carrick] are different players. One is a great big man and an elite penalty killer. The other is more of a puck mover. So they both have their strengths. When we play the teams with elite power plays, we’ll often put Polie in.