Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 12-6-0 on the season and 7-1-0 on the road.
Babcock on getting off to a good start to the California road trip:
We wanted to play fast here, obviously, tonight. We wanted to get off to a good start to this trip. We didn’t play great in Boston, so we wanted to respond. I thought we did that here tonight. A good win for our team.
On getting three first period power plays and five overall, including a double minor:
They called more penalties tonight. I think we play pretty much the same most times. It is what it is. It’s nice to get on the power play and it’s nice for the power play to score — get that feeling back. They’ve had good chances and haven’t scored. That’s good for the power play.
On the importance of Rielly and Marner getting pucks into the middle on the power play for the likes of Tavares, Hyman and Kadri to feed on:
I think they’re real important, obviously. On our goals tonight, we had John and Hyms on one, and then Marleau and Tavares at the other, right at the net. To me, that’s the way you score. You need people at the net.
On Kasperi Kapanen’s progress this season:
I think Kappy’s done a good job so far this year. He’s a young kid and trying to get better. But he plays with good linemates with Naz and Patty Marleau. He’s doing well.
On whether Kapanen’s emergence is a testament to the importance of patience in development:
To be honest with you, I haven’t been patient with him. He’s been down there (in the AHL). But the organization has. There is no sense in rushing these kids before they’re ready. They’ll never be as good as they’re capable of being. You’ve got to be good in the league you’re in. Everyone is in a rush in life. Just be good where you’re at.
Post-Game Player Reactions
John Tavares on a “textbook road win”:
A good sign tonight was how many penalties we drew. I think that just shows how well we possessed the puck and how difficult we made it on them to defend us. And we capitalized on those opportunities and controlled a lot of the game because of that. Just from start to finish, I thought it was a pretty textbook road win.
Tavares on tonight’s power play success, particularly the tic-tac-toe first goal:
We talked this morning. I think we had sixteen shots on net last game on the power play. Some of it is just sticking with what you’re doing and knowing it’s a long season. You’ve got to get some good bounces. There were some good rebounds and second opportunities last game that just went by Naz. I think it was kind of fitting today that he found a couple there.
We just take what is given to us. If there is good passing and we are able to take advantage of a seam, being able to put the pressure on them and make the goalie go post-to-post, we’ll take it. It was a nice first one to get.
Mitch Marner on the team sustaining offensive zone time:
For us coming in here, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game. We knew we had to be moving when we touched the puck. They have big d-men that want to trap you in corners. We made sure that when we got it in, we were moving on the first touch. The other two guys were making sure they were trying to get open and that they were talking.
Marner on the team’s power play success and how he keeps the PK units guessing from the half wall:
Just for me, it’s trying to be deceptive. It’s looking to different areas and passing to different areas from where my eyes are looking. For me, it is just kind of trying to change it up as much as possible. Sometimes, I will shoot it, which will throw off people. I think I shot it a few times tonight, and from there, went down to Patty a few times. It’s just trying to see what they are giving me on the first power play or so and dictating off of that.
Nazem Kadri on playing the man-in-the-middle role on the power play with success:
You just try to find those lanes and be ready to score when the puck comes to you. With those guys on the flanks, I just try to open up as much space as possible and wait for my opportunity.
Kadri on what makes Marner effective and so deceptive on the halfwall:
It’s because he can score, too. He’s got that offensive ability. He’s always got his head up. When he gets the puck, I’m never surprised. I am always trying to find an opening for my stick to be on the ice. He always seems to make the right play.