Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 5-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, dropping the Leafs to 15-7-0 on the season.
On the team’s slow start in which they conceded 29 shots in the first 20 minutes:
I just think they were prepared and they worked and they were excited. I talked about the process here today and being ready, and we weren’t. Anyway you look at it, if you don’t win any battles or any races, it doesn’t matter how much skill you have.
I really thought, in the end, we had the game close. We had opportunity at 6-on-5 and all of that. We had opportunity, but in saying that, the right team won — the team that started on time and worked the hardest. Even though we turned the game and did all of those things, not enough guys [on board] and not prepared.
On what changed in the second period:
Well, we worked. It’s a tough game if you don’t win any races or any battles. We weren’t prepared to go for whatever reason. It’s not like we didn’t have a normal day and a normal process to try to get prepared, but we weren’t prepared. We all have got to take a quick look at ourselves and get ready for the next one. There is nothing we can do to fix this one now, but the message is pretty clear: If you don’t work, you don’t win.
On whether there is a different challenge against a team that fires so many shots on goal from so many directions:
I don’t think so. I haven’t gone through and counted them all. What we’ll do is… You’ve got to play right. I didn’t think it was any trouble in the second period when we were playing right. Bottom line is, we didn’t get what we wanted here today. Ideally, it’s a good lesson for all of us that if we’re not prepared, we’ve got no chance to have success, and we move on.
John Tavares on Kasperi Kapanen:
I just knew Kappy from a distance and his game from playing against him, but you see the confidence and how deadly and effective his tools are that he has — his shot, his skating ability, the confidence that is growing in that, the impact he can make, and how hard he can be to defend.
Tavares on the bad start followed by the comeback attempt:
In the first period, we didn’t execute. They came out and forechecked hard. From the prescout, we knew that. We just didn’t execute very well. We paid the price for it. We finally started playing our game and executing and doing some of the things we do well and changed the momentum. It was a totally different feel to the game. We just weren’t able to get that third goal we needed.
Tavares on the power play going 0-for-2:
They came hard and were aggressive on us. We had some pucks go to the net and had some chances, and the puck just seemed like it was bouncing on us. We weren’t able to finish off some of those plays and connect. Obviously, we didn’t have a power play last game and sometimes it takes you out of the rhythm a little bit. We just didn’t capitalize on a number of chances.
Kasperi Kapanen on the team’s poor start:
They get it deep and they forecheck really hard. They throw pucks at our net. They won battles in the first period. They are a hard-working team. It was 2-1 after the first period and we couldn’t really climb back after that.
Kapanen on what’s led to him gaining confidence in his shot and offensive ability at the NHL level:
Once you get a little more ice time and you get a little more opportunity and chances to shoot the puck a little bit more… I guess it’s just the ice time, to be honest, or maybe it’s just been clicking for me this year. I don’t know. I think since game one, I have been performing pretty well. I still feel like I can be a lot better.
Frederik Andersen on the team eating 29 shots in the first period:
They’ve been shooting a lot this season. They came out and put everything on net. I think we came back in the second and played a really good period there. We just couldn’t get it done there.
[We needed] a little bit more talking and trying to get out of the zone quicker. It seemed like they were trying to jam everything on net. I thought we did a good job in the second and adjusted pretty well.
Andersen on the 1-0 goal standing after having his blocker and stick knocked loose:
I don’t know what the line is. I haven’t seen one be called back yet. I wasn’t too hopeful, but maybe that’s how they’re calling it this year. I don’t know.