Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s thrilling come-from-behind 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens, the Leafs’ seventh win in a row over the Habs.
On the team falling behind 3-0 and coming from behind:
I thought we started fantastic. I thought the first eight minutes were… I don’t know if we can skate any faster or move the puck any better. But when they scored, for whatever reason, we lost composure there for a bit. Even their power play goal, we weren’t in the right spots.
We were able to get in the room and get regrouped. We have a lot of belief in our team. We think we have a good team. We talked about having lots of hockey [left] and needing to start doing things right.
Freddy had a real good sequence in the second period where they could’ve probably put the game out of reach. I don’t know what the score was at that time, to be honest with you, but I thought he did a good job there. Sometimes as a goalie, when three times go by you, it’s hard to hold your composure and make the next save, but I thought he did a good job. He was a huge part of having success tonight.
On what the message was after the first period with the team down 3-0:
That we started great. We’ve lost our composure. We can get it back. There is lots of hockey. It is Saturday night. It’s in our house. It’s guaranteed win night. Let’s win.
On what the power play did differently that led to the success:
We scored. No, I am not… Sometimes you can go through and read it and we do so much analytics now. You’ve got all of these things that tell you how great it is. We entered the zone this many times, won this many faceoffs, had this many attempts. I like goals.
On Auston Matthews’ goal and performance on the night:
He is a good player. I thought he was exceptional as the game went on tonight. Really good. Physical on offense and really determined and really solid defensively. I was very impressed with him. But obviously, a big goal for us. I thought it was a real good play by Willy. Instead of carrying it down the flank, he just made a play very quickly that created space underneath for Marleau and Ennis to bury it. That was a big part of the game, obviously. You need your specialty teams to be good. We had a huge kill in the third period that helped us as well.
It is a good win for our team. When it is 3-0 and they’ve got to turn the music on loud because they are scared of what the fans will say, that is always not a great feeling, even though we felt we were really prepared. We really jumped. But it just goes to show you, when you are young sometimes and it is a big game, you get a little off kilter sometimes when you shouldn’t. You should just stay steady on the rudder and just keep getting her done.
On when there was a belief that the team could complete the comeback and win the game:
The second goal was huge for us, obviously. Once we got it to within one, you are set up for the third and it is in your building. Like I said, we like our hockey team. We think we’ve got a good hockey club. For sure then we were in a good spot.
On the intensity returning to the rivalry:
At the start, when I was first here, we were no good. Pretty hard to have a rivalry. And then last year they had a down [year]. Weber and Carey Price weren’t available. They’ve made a number of changes. Now is the first time we’ve played where both teams are good hockey teams since I’ve been here in the four years. That is probably the biggest difference.