Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, the Leafs’ first three-game losing slide of the season.
On the way the team lost:
I thought the second goal was a gift. We had no one in front of the net and it was a freebie. Even, to be honest, their shorthanded goal — I thought we could’ve sorted that out. You’d like to have those back. You can’t outscore your defensive mistakes; you’ve got to be good defensively.
We had lots of great looks, as you saw. Lots of good opportunity here, no question about it. We actually skated probably better than I thought coming off of the trip. But the bottom line is you’ve got to get points. We’ve suddenly got one in three games. We’ve got to get ourselves energized tomorrow and back at it and find a way to win a hockey game.
On the decision to move Andreas Johnsson up next to Auston Matthews:
I just thought that line was very good. I wasn’t trying to take anything away from Willy. I thought Johnny was really jumping. I thought that would help out. In the end, Johnny had a real strong game for us, so that is what we thought we’d do.
On the team’s scoring drying up a little of late:
I’ve liked the way we’ve played most nights here, to be honest with you. I usually find, over time, if you do good things, good things happen. I’m not as concerned about it. I thought we had, like I said, exceptional looks. Mitch alone was home free twice there at the end. I thought Matty was home free in the second. Kappy — great chance with Johnny at the net. Those are grade-A looks that we didn’t score. To me, if you get those chances, they go in eventually.
On whether Johnsson is going to stay up on Matthews’ line:
I’m not promising anything because I haven’t watched any tape or nothing, but I thought his game has been real good. I think Johnny has been playing well. He is a guy who is tenacious. He is on the puck. He’s got good detail, and he seems to have good hands around the net. He finds way to score.