Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, dropping the Leafs’ record to 9-7-4 on the season.
On the outcome vs. the team’s performance:
I don’t like that it was 5-4. I really liked our start. I thought we had an outstanding start and played really well. The period was over and we were down 2-0. I thought we crawled our way back and had a really good second period and gave up very, very little. In the end, we gave up the goal at the end of that. I thought in the third period, we weren’t as good as we needed to be in order to have success and crawl our way back. It is a one-goal game in the end, but I would’ve liked it better at 3-2, to be honest with you.
We’ve got to do a better job. Tonight, the special teams battle is 2-0 for them. You can’t win enough games losing the special teams battle. We’ve got to do a better job in that area for sure. But I really liked the start of our game. I liked our energy. I liked our execution. I liked how much time we played in the o-zone. I thought the Tavares line played in the offensive zone more than it did all year. That was good for us.
On the team’s turnovers on the breakout leading to goals against:
When you go through it, the first one, we had total control of the puck and managed to turn it over twice. It was in our net. The penalty came after a turnover. The third one was one of those ones where, to me, it was a simple play for us and we didn’t make it. The bottom line is we are through 20 games now, and if you evaluate what we have done in 20 games, we don’t like it as a group. We think we can do better. We will identify the areas again here tomorrow as we go through it, and then grind our way out of this. We got ourselves into the spot we are in. We’ve got to grind our way out.
On whether the team’s effort level hasn’t been good enough in the first 20 games:
I don’t think that has been the case at all. I think we’ve had really good energy and done lots of good things. In saying that, tonight after the first period and the second period, you feel you have played really well and should be ahead in the game. You’re not ahead in the game. Just stay the course. Stay patient. Take care of the puck. You do good things in life and good things happen.
On Zach Hyman’s first game back:
I thought Tavares’ line played… I don’t know how many heavy shifts they had, but they had a lot. They spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. I didn’t… I said it yesterday I had no idea what to expect. I really didn’t. I didn’t know you could be out that long and still come out with that energy. Maybe there is going to be a drop. I don’t know that, but I thought he did a good job in all areas.