Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 2-1 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 9-5-3 on the season.
On how Matthews finally broke through on the power play in the third:
Well, he just shot it. Obviously, we had some tough power plays. But if you look at it, both teams tonight, their penalty killing was real good. They didn’t get much done on theirs and we didn’t get much done on ours. Yet, in the end, we were fortunate to win the specialty teams battle tonight and win the game. Good for us. An important shot, obviously. Going into overtime, Freddy made some big saves for us. It was a good night.
On whether this game was as “beautiful” as the Kings game on Tuesday:
What I would say is that the game was way higher-end, obviously, They are a real good team. They’re heavy. They’re fast. They’ve got a great top six. I liked their back-end tonight. I thought Subban played well.
I thought it was a good game. I thought we were better in the first. I thought they were better in the second. I didn’t think there was much to pick between the teams in the third.
On what happened on the team’s late too-many-men penalty:
Well, one guy went on the ice and the other guy wasn’t off. That’s our third one. The other one was just at the end of the game the other night. Just padding your penalty-kill stats. But this one tonight could’ve been a big deal. The guy going on can’t go on before his guy is [off]. It’s just simple.
Now, we didn’t touch the puck or anything. I haven’t seen the overhead of that to see whether it was or wasn’t. But I’m sure it was.
On Frederik Andersen rounding into form:
I mean, I think we’re 4-1-1 in our last six. He’s been playing and he’s gotten better just like each year. He kind of gets through October and then seems to kick it into gear and gets feeling good. He is an important leader for us and a big leader for us. We need him to make big saves.
On his instruction to “just breathe” to the team:
That is what we said before the power play at the end there. Lighten up here, fellas. Let’s just go out there and breathe a little bit and do what we’re supposed to do.
I think the biggest thing is we are getting to know each other. I’ve said this a number of times and I don’t know if anyone believes it, but it’s easier to play with people you know. Over time, you’re going to get to know each other.
I think this road trip coming up will be real good for us coming up as well. It appears like the guys are starting to have more fun and interact more. I see more abuse. I think that’s a great thing. A lot of having fun together. That [happens] once you get to know each other better.
On whether Zach Hyman will be back for the weekend:
I don’t think Zach is coming back until next week. I don’t know all the details. They give me a heads up. I don’t think he is around until next week and I don’t know why.