Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils in the penultimate game of the regular season.
On the result after going out ahead 1-0, falling behind, and manufacturing a late push to no avail:
I thought this was fair. I thought the team that worked the hardest won. I thought they were more desperate early. We weren’t good enough defensively. We didn’t compete hard enough. I thought we competed hard as the game went on and had our chances. In the end, we couldn’t overcome it. The bottom line is: We have one more game. It’s our last chance to get ready. We are going to have to get to another level than where we were tonight, for sure.
On whether it was tough to be as motivated as the Devils on a night when they clinched a playoff spot:
For sure, but that doesn’t mean… I’m a competitive guy. It’d be nice not to have them celebrate tonight and get in another way. Obviously, we didn’t have that going inside our room. We didn’t have it going at the start of the game and it looked like it. In the end, we made some mistakes — sticking feet and guys just skating by us. But it is what it is. We’ll get ready for our next game and then get ready for what we’ve earned.–
On the lesson learned after losing to a desperate team:
I just think, just in general, it’s just playing harder. If you play harder, everything looks after itself. The team that played the hardest got the most breaks and the most bounces and were on the right side of the puck. In the end, they won. By no means did they slap us around, but you guys watch us play all the time. We’re better than that.