Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-2 win over the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, ending the Lightning’s nine-game home winning streak.
On the team’s bounce-back performance:
I thought we had a good effort tonight. I thought we had everybody on board. I thought Fred was real good in the third, obviously, and down the stretch. But I thought our team played well. We could’ve had a lot more. I thought their goaltender was good, too.
It was a good win for our team. We haven’t been as sharp here as lately, as you know. I thought this was a good response. We talked a lot about it — getting back on track, working hard, and doing it right. I thought we did that tonight.
On his team raising its “compete level:”
For sure. It was a very competitive game. There wasn’t a whole lot of room for either team, especially through two periods. I thought our guys really dug in there and worked hard and competed hard.
On what clicked for Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau, ending their goalless slumps:
That’s a great question. Patty hadn’t been on the board in a while. Naz, obviously, wasn’t as good the other night. Was it just Kapanen being with them? I don’t know, but they had a real good night for us and set the tone and got us going.
On the Leafs PK adjusting and keeping the Lightning PP off the scoresheet after the 1-0 PP goal:
I thought the first one was a bounce… it comes right to him. We were hoping to get hit and it didn’t happen. They probably had some better looks later and it didn’t go in. But they’re a good team and you don’t want to be in the box at all. You want to play with discipline, but it was good killing by our guys. Obviously, Freddy was good.
On the Leafs avoiding a three-game losing streak:
I say it all the time: You always want your low spells to be as short as you can. This one, for me, got long. Now, we didn’t have Freddy for a while and all of that, but I still didn’t think we dug in like we could’ve. It was great to see. We’ve got to get back to work. You’ve got to work at a high level if you want to… If you’ve got skill and you don’t work, you don’t win anyways. You’ve got to compete at a high level.
On Auston Matthews raising his game of late:
I thought he was really good. I thought this last little while he’s been getting better and better. Any time you… I thought he got off to a great start this year. He got injured. You always have that initial real bump, and then reality sets in. But I think he is really digging in. I thought he was really good without the puck.
On Matthews’ abilities when he’s competing hard and using his size offensively:
He’s just such a big man and he can protect the puck. Physical on offense. He’s never really going to be that physical on defense; just physical on offense, Protecting the puck and hanging onto it and having it a lot. I thought that line was effective.