Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 7-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
On Patrick Marleau scoring goal #544:
Tied with the rocket and 106 game winners. Not bad. That’s kind of exciting.
It’s incredible, actually, just to even think about it. The other thing about it that is positive tonight is Brownie getting three assists. That was great. [Ennis] getting a couple of goals. All of those things for confidence are great for people.
On the team’s performance:
I thought we started good tonight. I don’t know if we maintained it through 60, but we really started good. Came out, got on the cycle, and scored some big goals. We were at the net for the first three. It was a good win for our team. Now we’ve got to get better.
On Connor Brown notching three assists:
I just think for him, it’s just feeling good about himself. We were able to get those guys on the ice here more tonight and they were able to make a better contribution.
On the team piling up 13 wins on the road already:
I just think we’ve got good team depth, so if we play right, we give ourselves an opportunity on most nights. We feel fortunate about that.
On Auston Matthews’ driving the net hard for his goal:
I thought that one… I thought on the first one, he drove the net, too. I don’t even know if he got a point on that one. I think he got an assist on it. But he drove the guy back and then I thought on Marleau’s goal, too, he was physical on the forecheck and physical at the net front. That’s why I said I really liked our start.
On Morgan Rielly scoring his career-high 11th goal in just 35 games and his overall progression:
He’s gotten way better. His stick and his feet in the d-zone and his defensive awareness are way better. I think getting Ron Hainsey here has really helped him that way. Obviously, he’s got good growth. We all knew he was good offensively, but the defensive part has made a huge difference.
He’s done a good job. He’s a good player. He skates really well, would be his greatest asset for sure. He’s competitive and he’s got lots of energy.
Player Reactions: Patrick Marleau, Connor Brown, Nazem Kadri, Mitch Marner
Marleau on tying The Rocket in the record books:
Growing up, I used to always look at all the hockey cards and look at all the books and read about the great players. I think it’s pretty cool to be in that same company.
It’s always nice when a milestone like that comes with a win.
Marleau on how the team generated its offense tonight:
It was a good effort by the group tonight. We got in on the forecheck and got some goals that way versus off the rush like we’ve done in the past. Getting our grind game going is something that we’ve talked about and it worked for us tonight.
We got the puck in right way and went to work and started grinding teams; not going up and down the ice as much but getting a sustained attack. I think that was something pretty special. The one goal — I can’t remember whose it was — we were griding for a while and then guys started to change and we had them hemmed in for a while and eventually scored. That is something good teams do. That’s hard to defend.
Nazem Kadri (three assists) on the performance of his line:
We are a pretty solid forechecking line with Patty and Willy with the speed. We’ve got the skill. I think we’ve got a perfect combination of the grittiness and willingness to work as well as the skillful aspect, too. Nights like tonight, it just felt like it was going for us.
Kadri on William Nylander’s play and progress:
I’m not worried about him. Willy is a great player and he is going to get better. He is going to get his legs as each game unfolds. For him, I think he is playing well. I think we look into the goals and assists and points a little too much. He’s stopping on pucks. His attention to detail is there. It’s just a work in progress.
Kadri on the way the team manufactured offense:
It seemed like we were going goal line to goal line. A lot of the goals started out with the transition in our own end, making plays and breaking out pretty smoothly and attacking on the offensive side. To us, it is just a good all-around game playing 200 feet. When you play that well in those places, you get rewarded.
Connor Brown on the team’s performance:
That’s the kind of game we want to play — play in their end, play heavy, control the pace of the game.
Brown on the fourth line grabbing two late goals through Tyler Ennis:
It’s nice to get on the scoresheet. We feel like we’ve been doing good things. We haven’t had the consistency of getting out there, so it was nice to get into a rhythm, get on the ice, and it was nice to see Enzo pot a few.
Mitch Marner on the team’s offensive outburst:
I think we were getting bodies to the net. All of our goals weren’t very pretty. They were guys going to the net and getting second opportunities. That is something we’ve got to do more of and something we’ve got to be better at.
The last couple of games, other than Tampa, we haven’t been working as hard as we need to be. I think we came out ready to play. We came out and got the puck behind them and did what we needed to do. That’s why we were successful.
Marner on the team’s 13-5-1 road record:
We don’t line match on the road. It’s all about the other team. We have so many dominant lines. It’s usually one shutdown line on the other side. We have four dominant lines that can play in the o-zone. You see tonight that fourth line of ours is very skilled and can do a lot of things with the puck. Our four lines in general, when we get it in, we play well. Anyone can score. We are a deadly lineup like that. We’ve got to do more of that. It’s something we’ll keep improving on.
Marner on Marleau tying The Rocket with 544 career goals:
He’s massive for this group on and off the ice. Him and his family open up their house as much as anyone I’ve ever seen. They are so caring for this whole team. It is pretty amazing to see that.
On the ice, his speed is still like a 19 or 18-year-old, which is crazy to see. He takes care of himself pretty well off the ice. I think that is something for all young guys to watch as well. It is a great accomplishment. He is just going to keep higher and higher up in those goals. He’s got a great touch around the net.