Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 6-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, the Leafs’ second consecutive blowout win.
On a second complete performance in a row:
I just thought things were going fine going into Tampa and the goalie made tons of saves and we hit some bars. We seemed to start pressing after that. Today, we just did things right and executed. As soon as they got one, they were going to get more. I thought our team worked hard tonight, though. Started on time and did things the way you should. That was good.
On the top power-play unit breaking through in a big way:
If you make good plays, it is hard to defend. For a while there, we weren’t seeing it or moving it as we pressed. Once we got one, it was obvious just the difference of the tempo of our power play than what it had been the last week.
On Zach Hyman’s absence through injury, expected to be more than day-to-day:
That’s obviously unfortunate. We didn’t know for sure. It’s Hyman, so he didn’t complain about nothing. He kept playing anyway. He got the slew foot there in New Jersey and went into the boards and hurt his ankle and kept playing. He tried to go today and we thought he was playing today.
It’s like anything. You get an opportunity for someone else. He is a real important part of our team because he’s so heavy and we don’t have enough heavy guys. He is one of those guys. So that hurts us that way, being heavy in the offensive zone. Someone else gets an opportunity and someone else gets an opportunity to penalty kill. We’ll end up being better for it.
On Morgan Rielly’s comment that he’s focused on defense even while the points pile up:
The most important thing is, in the end, you’re going to have to play really good defense to win. Against a heavy team that can play on the cycle, you’re going to have to be a team that can really defend if you want to have success. We’d like to become that team. We have lots of young players here that are getting better and will continue to get better. Matty looks like he is starting to be in shape now. Willy, as you can tell, is a ways away. But as we get our group going, I think we become a real good team.
On the team getting tons of goal production out of its centers:
I just think we’re deep down the middle. I thought The Goat did a good job today, too. We had four good lines. You want to be deep down the middle. To me, that is a key part of it. You want to be deep in the back and real good in goal. That gives you a real chance to have success.
On Morgan Rielly’s four-point night:
He’s a good player. We’ve talked about it before — he thinks he is in Moose Jaw again, you know? He’s out there. He’s good. He’s having fun. Take care guys.