Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 5-3-1 on the season.
On the team’s strong first period:
Obviously, we got off to a good start. We struggled in the second with penalty trouble. I thought it really got us out of our flow. It gave a good power play good opportunities. In that end, that probably affects us. How many penalties did we take? One, two, three, four. How many did we get? [Zero]. I didn’t know that. Anyway…
On the status of Andreas Johnsson after he left the game due to a puck to the leg:
I think he is going to be fine. The x-rays were negative. We’ll see in the morning. He might not practice tomorrow but he’ll be back at her.
On the decision to put Mitch Marner in “Nylander’s spot” next to Matthews:
It wasn’t in Willy’s spot. We had talked about it two days ago. We kind of knew what we were going to do. we were going to play Willy with Matty when it was in the offensive zone and it was set up that way. When it was a matchup situation, we were going to play Mitchy. If we won with Matty in the o-zone, we wanted Mitchy with Kerf so we could match that up. We were going to match up Goat in the d-zone. I wasn’t going to explain all of that to you. It would’ve been a waste of time, right?
On whether that will remain in place for Monday’s game:
We’ll just try to evaluate for the next game what we are going to do. We’ll look at it tomorrow and figure it out and go from there. I mean, we lost Johnny and we were a little more short staffed. Some guys were on. I thought we had some guys that had strong, strong games — Mikheyev, I thought had a real good game. I thought Timo had a real good game. I thought Goat was outstanding. You go through and there were lots of guys that really contributed here tonight.
On the fourth line lifting some of the heavies:
You wouldn’t have trusted Goat in these situations before. It is no different than Holl. You get better every year. Sometimes you don’t get to play, but you’re getting better. You’re in NHL practices every day. You’re training. You’re working. You’re getting better. When they make the step and earn the confidence, then they really get better. Obviously, Goat has been important for us — real important for us.
On Dmytro Timashov scoring his first NHL goal:
I think he’s got four points or something. What I like about him is he’s nasty. He hits everything that moves and he is heavy on the puck. He’s on the forecheck all the time and provides speed for Shore and Goat.
On whether he is tempted to go to Matthews-Marner more often this season:
Not really. I’m tempted to have the best lineup we can. If that is them together, then I’d do that. John Tavares is a pretty good player, too, you know? That line — we get Hyman back — is a pretty dominant, dominant line for us. Matty and Johnny and Willy have been a good line for us as well in the past.
I don’t know what is going to happen. I can’t predict that. I just know that you go day to day. You get to write about it after. I’ve got to decide during. It’s not as easy to second guess during — you’ve got to make those decisions in advance. Sometimes it goes good and you feel great. Sometimes it goes terrible and you wish you wouldn’t have done it.
On whether the win was a statement game:
I don’t know about statement game. What I’d say to you is it was more important for our team than their team. It was important because John was out, too, to find a way to win. It was probably even more important when we lost Little John that we got it done. I thought Freddy looked like he’s back. That is an important night for us as well. I thought he had an unbelievable night for us.