Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
On the biggest difference from Games 1 and 2:
I thought game one we were no good. I thought, in Game 2, we were way better than the score indicated, to be honest with you. I thought we started good in that game and it didn’t go our way and it kind of came unravelled. I thought, tonight, we had a better push. Our goaltender, part way through the game, really settled in and got playing the way he’s capable of playing. That made a huge difference to us, too. Obviously, the fans in our building and last change — all of those things. We’ve been good at home all year and it was nice to get one here. We’ve got a couple days here now to get regrouped and get ready for the next one.
On the play of Plekanec and Marleau together:
I thought Plek was outstanding — really good for us. Played his best game since he’s been here, maybe. It’s just the fact that maybe he didn’t feel as important as he should’ve when he got here. Maybe that affected his play, but I thought he was really good tonight and a huge factor in our win.
On the importance of Matthews breaking through:
I think important. I think, when you’re my age, social media doesn’t even really affect your life. When you’re his age, it affects your life and you know what people are saying. It’s not just what people are saying; ifyou want to be the best player in the world and it’s not going the way you want, it probably tightens you up. Now, I haven’t talked to him about this, so I don’t know. This is me speculating. But I think tonight gets a huge weight off of his shoulders. Instead of thinking about all of this stuff, it will just become natural to get playing again. That, to me, is a huge thing for him.
What you’ve got to remember is that these guys are young guys. They’re playing against real players and they’re young guys. You’ve got to go through some of these slappings in your life to learn how to respond and how to play and do things right.
On Frederik Andersen’s miraculous paddle save late in the third:
Mitch had fallen down in the corner, so Patty had to come over and help out. The next thing you know, they were able to seam us. I mean, it was a huge save for us because we stayed at 4-2 instead of being tight and having to battle through that last minute. It’s always easier to do when you’re up two.
I thought that was a real big save for Freddy and it’s important. Freddy has been one of our best players all year and we need him to be good. He’s got to feel like he’s back. You talk about Auston; Freddy is one of those guys who has got to feel like he’s back. It hasn’t gone as good for him in the first couple of games. We need him to be good.
On the Plekanec line’s play against the Bergeron line:
Just a mature guy. Knows how to play. Played well defensively. Was good in the faceoff circle. Mitchy and Patty were fast and hard and so we spent way more time in the offensive zone. They still came to life when they had the power play late in the game — it wasn’t a power play, but it was like a power play — but I thought that line was good for us.
On whether it was a bounce back night for Nikita Zaitsev:
A big night. If you go through the goals, two of them that went against him had nothing to do with anything. They just bounced off four people and went in the net. I think it’s important that he bounces back, but I also think we watch the whole thing. We don’t just say, “You’re dash-four.” We say, “What happened?” We think he’s a real good player; probably better than anyone else thinks. We think he’s that good.