Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 6-5 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night, the team’s eleventh consecutive win on home ice.
On the wild momentum swings in the game:
Obviously, we got the break with the Naz goal. We scored a good goal when James got the second one to go up 2-0, and then they dominated the next 35 minutes — like, not even close. They played right and we didn’t. They were better than us. I thought Hitch had his team prepared. They played hard. We didn’t handle their forecheck. We didn’t execute. We didn’t make any plays. We didn’t play heavy.
But I thought we came out in the third period and we dug in. We just talked about, “Let’s just get one and they’ll tighten up and we’ll crawl our way back into the game.” In the end, that’s what happened. Obviously, when we turned the puck over to give them one more, you’re starting to wonder if you can find another one, but good play by Mitch and Patty Marleau with James at the net. Good play. We had good pressure on that 6-on-5 and then obviously a huge kill on that 4-on-3 in OT.
On Frederik Andersen’s injury that forced him out of the game:
I haven’t even asked yet, but it sure didn’t seem like much. He played after he got hurt, so I don’t know exactly, but it’s an upper-body injury and I’ll find out more here in a bit.
On whether he knew for sure that Andersen was done for the night:
I just saw Mac getting his stuff on, so I knew he was coming out.
On McElhinney stepping in and getting the job done again for the team:
He wanted to get warmed up for tomorrow. He’s going in tomorrow anyway. I mean, Mac has been great all year. Obviously, he was good in the shootout and gave us a chance and got us a big win. We’re trying to crawl our way into the playoffs and you need points. We don’t have enough, so you’ve got to find ways to win.
On James van Riemsdyk’s hat trick performance:
Real good night for him, obviously. I thought Bozak was really competitive. When weren’t competitive early, I thought he was competitive right from the start right through. Any time you get three goals and you’re at the net for the fourth, you’ve done something pretty special. Good for him. He hadn’t scored in a bit, so it was great for him to get us the win.
On Andreas Johnsson’s debut:
He didn’t get as much opportunity because we got chasing the game. I don’t have a good evaluation, to be honest, just because of the way the game went. When you’re behind… When I’m ahead and managing the game, I play everybody and everyone plays lots. When you’re chasing the game, I’m just playing who I’ve got to play.
On Auston Matthews’ status and whether he’ll make the trip to Buffalo:
He’s coming to Buffalo. Needs a good skate in the morning.
On whether Andersen will make the trip to Buffalo:
That’s a great question. Don’t know the answer. I’ll learn and I’ll know and tell you guys. See you tomorrow.