Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 6, extending the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup to a series-deciding Game 7 on Tuesday.
On the level of concern about special teams (0 for 2 on the PK, 0 for 3 on the PP):
Well, it was a concern tonight, any way you look at it. I thought we started good. They scored on their power play for their first one. I mean, it was a 50-50 puck on the faceoff and they found it. It hit Ronny’s leg and goes in. I don’t know how much that is penalty killing or faceoff.
But I thought we got on our heels after that. I thought we started real good. I thought we were skating and executing. We didn’t seem to get our game back at all. I thought they had one of their best periods they’ve had all playoff in the second period. We didn’t execute and play fast enough or play well enough. I thought we got going a bit in the third period, but in the end, I thought this was their best game that they’ve played and I didn’t think we were as good as we could’ve been.
On why the team wasn’t prepared for the challenge:
I don’t think that’s what I said at all. I am going to do that one more time. I thought we were really ready. We were jumping big time. As soon as we had a little adversity and they scored twice, we didn’t recover. I don’t know if that’s the emotions getting the better of us. We couldn’t get that back in check. To say we weren’t ready would be totally wrong. We started really well and played really well. And then, boom, once they scored, we didn’t recover very good. We talked about it and prepared for it, but it didn’t happen for us.
On whether it’s part of the team learning how to handle these moments:
That’s part of it for sure. But we’d like to learn quick, obviously. The bottom line is we weren’t as good as we could’ve been for a stretch of 30 minutes for us for sure. They skated way better than we did and that doesn’t happen to us very often. I thought they did that tonight for … I don’t know when their second power play goal went in, but whenever that time is until the end of the second period, they were better than us.
On whether there are lessons from last year to take into Game 7:
I am not a big believer in living in the past. I don’t carry a lot of stuff around from the past at all. The bottom line is we’ve got a one-game series against these guys. We like each other. We like our group. We like hanging around. We want to be together. The only way you get to be together is if you play good and execute and win. We’ve got a good group that enjoys being together and plans on having a good run. In order to do that, we’ve got to go into Boston and win a game.
On the effort he got from some of his best players in Frederik Andersen and Morgan Rielly:
Each and every night, everybody is trying to go good. There is no question about it. Some nights you aren’t going as good as you need to and you’ve got to dig your way out. The bottom line is we needed Freddy to be good tonight and to crawl our way back. In the end, we didn’t get another one for him, which is disappointing. But I thought we had some guys dig in for sure. But we weren’t as good as a group and you need everybody. I thought they were better than us.
On whether he’s been in a series where his team has had this much trouble killing penalties at home:
I don’t know. Last time, you had a whole bunch of stats for me the other day. I don’t know. I just know today that they scored and we had won the faceoff. They shot it in the net. That’s the first one. The second one, we got on our heels and they shot it in our net. The bottom line is we have to fix it. We fixed it before our last game in Boston and did a real nice job. We didn’t do it today.