Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, the team’s 13th win in its last 15 games.
On the team’s performance:
I thought we played good. I didn’t think at any time we weren’t playing well. I thought a lot of times we were really quick and put a lot of pressure on them. We got down, but when you’re playing real well, you think you’re going to win anyway. That’s how our bench felt all night long. I thought we played good, so it was nice to see.
On going back to Marleau – Kadri – Komarov for the matchup line:
If you play against… we want Mitch to generate offense. If you play against Bergy’s line… we did the prescouts, and no one is generating any offense against them. We’re trying to figure out how to get two lines to create offense, and then have a saw-off. In the end, they didn’t saw it off. Our D made a couple of mistakes, but those guys… I thought those guys were really good. Very dynamic, fast, played well. We didn’t know for sure if we were going to switch Marleau and Hyms as the game went on. We didn’t know for sure. But the way it worked out, we liked the way they were playing, so we just left them.
On William Nylander at center:
I thought he was good today. Willy has been good a number of times at center. It’s just that you’ve got to do it every day. You’ve got to do it 82 games and then whatever in the playoffs, and you’ve got to do it for 20 years. It’s hard. It’s way easier to be a winger. If he can learn to compete on a high level, he can be a center in the league for sure. I mean, he’s dynamic in the middle of the ice. There is more space for him, and he likes to have the puck.
On Josh Leivo’s return to the lineup after nearly two months in the press box:
I thought he was fine. I thought Kapanen was unbelievable on that line. Whoever was fortunate to play with Kappy… he has good speed, so that helped.
On putting credence into beating the team’s likely first-round opponent:
It’s always nice to beat them. Last time, they handled us. I thought today we were better. I think if we played them, it would be a real good series. We like our hockey team. We think we’re getting better, and we think we’ve been getting better for quite a while. We think we’re learning how to play the right way. So, if we play hard, we have a chance to play with anybody.
On Mitch Marner’s current tear (19 points in his last 15 games):
He didn’t get off to the kind of start he wanted. You get in your own way. In this town, it’s even easier to get in your own way because everyone is reminding you how it’s going. It’s just one of those things. I think he’s been playing well for a long time. But, obviously, it’s like anything — he’s been getting better, he’s had another year in the league, he’s getting more confident. I thought he was real good tonight. I thought that whole line was good.
On looking forward to having the trade deadline in the rearview mirror:
I’m anxious for the guys. No one needs all this stuff. They want it to be over with. A lot of the speculation is total hogwash, but it doesn’t matter. Their families are reading it and their families are reading it, so they end up hearing about it. And here they go. We’ll just get it over with and get playing.