Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 2-1 shootout win over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
On Frederik Andersen’s 47-save performance:
I thought he was good. I thought, in particular in overtime, we gave up some grade-A chances. When you look at the game, both teams — whether this means anything or not — were attempting like 70 shots. It’s ridiculous almost. The neutral zone was clogged up. There weren’t a lot of quality chances until the end, and then that three-on-three thing was probably entertaining for the fans, but we weren’t great, I didn’t think, in it.
On the decision to match up Auston Matthews’ line vs. Johnny Gaudreau’s line as opposed to Nazem Kadri’s line at home:
Just because we had won the game in Calgary and played that way. Part way through the game, you’re talking on the bench like, “Should we be doing this or not doing this?” I don’t know — if I was doing it over again — if I’d do it again for sure.
I didn’t think we had very good legs here today at all. We looked like a team that came back from a road trip even though we had days to recover and all of that. We were sluggish. I thought they played us a lot harder than they played us in Calgary. In the end, we found a way to win. It’ll look good in the standings in the morning. We’ll have an off day and then get ready to play. We’ve got to be better than this.
On the decision to move William Nylander up the lineup:
I don’t know if you noticed, I was moving everyone around. There wasn’t a lot going on. You’re just trying to find something that will work. Willy is a good player. He can do a lot of good things. He’s just got to improve the details of his game. But he’s a good player and he’s dynamic. I thought he skated one of the best — him and Marleau. I thought Mitch had a real good first period, but we didn’t have a lot of guys skating tonight, so it made for sluggish play.
On the Matthew Tkachuk spearing incident by the bench at the end of the first period:
The guys told me in between periods. I mean, whatever. That’s junior hockey stuff. He’ll learn over time. You’ve got to give Tkachuk credit. He played a good game. He played hard. No reason for that stuff.
On the team’s start to the game:
I didn’t think we necessarily started terribly or did anything that bad. They got shots but they didn’t get a tonne of chances in the first period. I thought it was all clogged up. We didn’t make a lot of plays.
But I thought we’d get going again and get traction and take over. I don’t think we ever did that tonight at all. Now, give them credit. They played good. We just beat them the other night. Any way you look at it, we just got four out of a possible four points in a home-and-home and it’s hard to beat the team the second time. It’s always way harder; I don’t care what anybody says. They dropped a couple in a row where they gave up big numbers.
You knew they were going to be dialled in and their goalie was going to be dialled in. In the end, our goalie was better.
On the congested schedule coming up:
I’m not very worried about that. We are going to play Pittsburgh Saturday, and then we come home for Edmonton. So we’re going to do everything we can to win the game in Pittsburgh and then we’re going to do… Whatever day we’re in, that’s how we’ll do it. We’ve got good people that tell us what to do and how to manage it, so we go about it that way.
On the importance of getting a home win before the road-heavy schedule kicks off:
Just because we haven’t been quite as good [at home]. We were so dominant at home at the start and haven’t been quite as good. We need to be dominant here. The team needs to know when they get off the bus and come in here that they have no chance. We haven’t established that good enough. We have to get that established.
On the congested neutral zone in the game and the lack of sustained o-zone shifts:
In the second period, and I don’t know if it’s right or not, but by our people tracking, between us and them, there was four and six entries where you carried it in or flipped it in and actually got control of the puck. There was nothing going on. Both ways, there was a lot of clunking going on.