Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders, ending the Leafs’ five-game winning streak.
On the team’s performance:
They were better than us. I thought Sparky was unbelievable, actually, in the first. We gave up six grade-As. We don’t usually give up six grade-As in a game. We turned the puck over. They countered. They played exactly like we expected. They played hard. They were better than us. We were on the outside, they were on the inside. They gave us a lesson. We’ve got four days off. Let’s get regrouped. Let’s get back at her. Let’s get another run going.
On whether the loss is a little more disappointing knowing the game meant more to John Tavares:
Sure, but we are all in it together, too. Everyone wanted to help John win tonight, but we obviously didn’t do a very good job, right through from the coaching staff to the players. Any way you look at it, we didn’t play hard enough.
Now, I think we just won five and I think we lost one in overtime. That’s our best run of the year. We’ve had two of those runs. We need to have another one now and get back at it. I would’ve liked to have sit around tomorrow on an off-day and enjoy what we’re doing, but this way, I won’t be very relaxed.
On whether this performance was a product of a back-to-back situation with a big break coming up:
I don’t look at it like that. Today was the game we were playing. They traveled. We traveled. They played. We played. Everything was even. They were better than us. That’s on us. We’ve got to fix that. The other thing about it is, the way they played, they made it hard for you. They were waiting for their chances. They countered and we knew it. That’s how it gets as the year gets tougher. It gets like that. There are no 3-on-2s. There are no 2-on-1s. You’ve got to dig in and play in the tight areas. We didn’t do it.
We just had a good run. We obviously dropped the ball here tonight and weren’t good enough. Is it disappointing? Yes. Is it puzzling? No.
On Mathew Barzal’s game:
Elite edges. Good hockey sense. Good kid. He wants to be a good player. He’s gotten a lot stronger over the year. He’s a real good player and he had a good night against us tonight.
On the acquisition of Michael Hutchinson to shore up the goaltending depth on the Marlies:
We’ve been trying to do that for a long time. It just kind of happened all here [at once]. Obviously, when we lost two guys, we knew right away. You’re hoping you aren’t losing two guys, right? You thought you might lose one. You didn’t know you were going to lose two. It’s been an issue for us.
This gives us a real good opportunity to give [Kaskisuo] some help with the Marlies, which I think is important. Last year, [Pickard] did a real good job with Sparky helping him out. The same thing can happen with this opportunity.
On whether the Frederik Andersen injury factored in:
It’s not why we did this, but that can play into it. We still expect Freddy to be… We don’t think this is long term.
On whether he got a chance to meet up with Matt Martin and Leo Komarov before the game:
They played last night and didn’t come to the rink today. Otherwise, you would for sure. Matt was a great teammate and looked after us. Leo was an unbelievable Leaf, in my opinion, and a real team guy. Real important for us. He did a real good job. That’s the way the business is, though. There are always lots of good guys that are leaving. It’s unfortunate at free agent time. That’s just the way it is.