Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night, improving the team’s record to 13-6-0 on the season and 8-1-0 on the road.
On getting a good win in a tough building:
I thought we did a good job, obviously. Good discipline. I thought we played pretty good. It was a good win in here. It’s always hard to win in here. They’ve got a good hockey club with a real good backend. We got good goaltending and pretty good specialty teams, and in the end, found a way to win.
On what the message was to the team when down 3-2 after 20 minutes:
We started real good and we stopped playing in the last ten. We just said, “instead of getting involved in all of the crap, why don’t we just play? Because we’re quicker than them.” In the end, when we got refocused, we got playing better.
I thought our second period was our best.
On getting contributions from the fourth line and the overall depth contributions:
I thought they were good tonight. I thought Lindy’s line — that’s the best they’ve been. I thought Goat’s line was effective as well. We had good depth. That’s important. You don’t want to overplay your guys, so that’s important.
On the Sharks targeting Nazem Kadri right from puck drop:
I mean, obviously, the biggest thing about it, though, is it got us a power play to start the game. They’re going to say it wasn’t a power play goal because it was over by one second, or whatever, but it’s a power-play goal. It’s a great way to start the game. You like to score first. We did that.
To me, there is no one tougher on their team than Big Joe. If Big Joe wants to look after something that happened in the past, he can probably do that. To me, it was good for Naz. Naz is that kind of guy. He’s kind of greasy. So why not?
On the team’s penalty kill being dangerous offensively:
I just thought we had some good looks shorthanded. We could’ve had a couple more. We hit the post on the other one. I just thought our penalty kill was good. We we were on our toes pretty good. And, in the end, like I said, we got good goaltending.
Nazem Kadri on being targeted by the Sharks physically from the puck drop:
I guess it’s maybe what happened from last year. I figured he’d turn the page eventually. I’m not the kind of guy to back down, so I was fine with it.
It seemed like they were pretty agitated to start, so I figured I’d just try to use that to my advantage. I think they might have been a little bit too worried about their own thing out there. We took care of business and it’s a good win for us.
Kadri on what the genesis of the animosity was:
I think it is just from the Thornton incident that happened a year and a half ago. I’m not quite sure why they were still so bitter about it, especially when he was the one who initiated with me. It’s not like I went out looking for it. Like I said, I knew they were agitated from the start and I figured I’d run with that.
Kadri on the Sharks trying to push the Leafs around:
I think it was pretty clear that I think their game plan was to try to push us around and use their size to their advantage. But we have an identity of our own and that’s speed. We don’t have a group of guys that will stay down and give up. Good win for our group.
Mitch Marner on Kadri when the game gets rough and the opposition is after him:
Naz is a bull, man. He’s insane. He is a strong dude. I give him a lot of respect. He takes a lot of stuff every single night. We always give it to him about that slot and how easy it is to score goals [on the power play], but he gets whacked a lot. He is a special player on this team and means a lot to every on this team. He is a warrior.
Patrick Marleau on Kadri’s response to being targeted by the Sharks:
He handles himself well in those situations. It kind of brings his game up. He kind of thrives on it. He doesn’t shy away from it. He was actually getting up for it.
Kasperi Kapanen on the team’s speed advantage in the game:
We used our speed pretty well. I don’t think they could really handle us in their zone. We were just trying to chip it in there and just hold onto pucks. All in all, it was a pretty solid win for us today and Freddy made some big saves. Good win.
Kapanen on his shorthanded goal:
They’ve got a couple righties up top on the blue line and I was just kind of making sure they weren’t going from one side to the other. Mitchy made a great play and just kind of spat it out to me. I was able to go on a breakaway. It was a great play by him. And Patty made a great play to me on the other one. All the credit goes to those guys.
Kapanen on the attention Kadri was getting from the Sharks:
I don’t know what was going on, to be honest. Nazzy loves that stuff and it got him into the game. I think that is a mistake by them. Going after Naz like that isn’t going to do anything to him. I think it’s the opposite. It’s going to get him going. I thought our line had a good night tonight.
Kapanen on the goal at 4-on-4 set up by Patrick Marleau:
The guy is a legend. He’s the GOAT. Just to be able to get a pass from him and put it in is a great feeling.
Frederik Andersen on picking up an assist on the Marner insurance goal:
It’s fun to get some points on the season total. It was a great shot by Mitchy. I saw him out there and I figured I’d try to catch them on the change. It turned out to be a big goal.
Andersen on getting a win in San Jose for Patty Marleau:
He’s awesome. He is just a quiet leader. He does everything the right way. He is a great man. It is fun to have him and I’m glad we got a win for him back home where he’s spent the better part of his career.
Andersen on his performance in net:
I felt good. It is never fun when it goes in like that in the first, but you’ve just got to reset and really think about what is really important, which is what you do next. We were able to respond really well and get the two points.
Josh Leivo‘s on getting his second of the season:
I think in the LA game, there were a couple of good chances there. Enzo gave me that quick feed and I just knew I had to get it off right away. I was fortunate it went in. It’s good to contribute and help the team win.
Leivo on the fourth line contributing:
We are not playing as much, so any time we can spark the boys a bit, it’s a great help. I think we played really well down low before the goal anyway. I think it was a long time coming. Enzo almost had one, too. It was a good game.