Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens, the team’s 12th consecutive win on home ice.
On the momentum the team has been getting from its excellent special teams:
I mean, obviously, it’s real important to have good speciality teams with the power play and the penalty kill. It gives guys opportunities to feel good, too. It’s hard to score goals five on five. Scorers like to score. I thought it was a huge goal for Willy tonight. He hadn’t had one in a while. On the power play, that was a big one, obviously. The other one was huge as well. The power play is important, just like the penalty kill.
Obviously, you like to be real good. You want to be top ten in both, and top five if you get real greedy. You want to be in a situation where it’s a strength for you. Any time things aren’t going good on specialty teams, it almost becomes a wait for you and a lack of confidence, and it shows. It’s great that we’ve got a good feeling.
On Andreas Johnsson’s performance and first career NHL goal:
I just thought that he had… I don’t know what he had — seven shots, or something? He had so many chances. Seven shots, two misses. Any way you look at it, he had nine attempts. That line was real good. Hyman was real dominant. Good for him. He was on the puck. He’s smart with it. He’s obviously not scared. He’s quick — his first couple of steps are quick. It’s good. You want to have as many players as you can.
On the depth shining through and different players stepping up in the absence of Auston Matthews, Nikita Zaitsev, and Leo Komarov:
Obviously, that’s what you need. In the end, you need all your hands on deck. You need your best lineup. It’s going to be heavy hockey. You lose guys like [Auston Matthews] and Leo, they’re heavy guys and they’re strong guys. Z is an ultimate competitor, and obviously, the goaltender [was out]. But [McElhinney] has done a fantastic job for us, to say the least.
I thought the guys played good. I thought our second was really good tonight, which is nice to see. We were professional. We took care of the puck. We got after them. Good win for our team.
On the play of the Jake Gardiner – Roman Polak pairing:
I mean, we like Polie just because he’s big and he’s hard. Just ask our guys who they wouldn’t want to play against in practice every day. It’s Polie. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but they don’t tend to score when he’s on the ice and he whacks lots of people and they know he’s out there. We’re light on the back anyway, so having a man back there is important.
On the status of the injured personnel:
Zaits skated today and yesterday, so that’s the first time he’s skated. He’s saying he’s feeling better and he was in the room after. So that was positive. I think Matty is playing right away here. I’m not 100% certain. Leo — I don’t know for sure. I don’t know if it’s another game, but it’s not long term. I think Freddy is playing right away — I think.