Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 3-2 victory over in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins.
On the team’s performance:
I thought we had a real good first seven minutes, and then we started turning the puck over and I thought then they had a good [period of] play. We were able to get it back before the end of the period. I don’t know what their coach said — I didn’t listen — but I thought it was a higher level game than the other games. It was quicker and both teams were better. In the other two games, I think one team was better each night. Tonight was a hard-fought game.
On the Tavares line’s ability to keep a lid on the Bergeron unit:
Obviously, a priority against them is to play real good players. That is what we are doing. As a five-man unit, do everything you can to at least go 50% in the faceoff circle so that they don’t have the puck all the time. But we have good players, too. With John here, we have a veteran guy that has been here for a while. He’s gotten better and better defensively this year and it shows.
On Mitch Marner laying his body on the line late to block shots:
That is what you’ve got to do to win. Ideally, all of those things are contagious. When you see your teammate do something like that, you are more likely to do it yourself. When you talk about team building, to me, that is team building: Laying it on the line when you need to. It makes everyone else around you better, so good for him and good for us.
On Auston Matthews’ goal and performance:
I thought he was real good tonight. I thought he had real good legs. Skated good, was real good defensively, and stayed patient. He didn’t turn over the puck and looked after it and was rewarded. He is a proud guy and wants to be good every night. He wants to score. He loves to score. It was great… Probably relieved a lot of pressure off of him.
On Andreas Johnsson’s big game (1g,1a on the power play):
It was good. He hadn’t been as good here lately. It was great to see all the details in his game tonight. You know, he;’s quick and he’s smart. He can be real hard. Tonight, he had good detail in his game and hadn’t been as good. Obviously, he was rewarded for that as well and good for him.
On the team’s ability to protect leads this season and again tonight:
Obviously, it is just part of the growing up process. You’ve just got to learn to play with the lead and learn to play in the offensive zone with the lead and just keep playing. It is easy to say you don’t want to get cautious, but you tend to get cautious and back up too much. You don’t win like that.