Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, the team’s eighth win in its last nine games.
On the team’s performance:
I really liked the first period, and then I thought we didn’t play the same way in the second. What came in the third looks like it just happened in the third but it had been coming all second period. But I liked the fact that we were kind of able to regroup ourselves and get a win. We’ve just got to keep our foot on the gas and playing well, and not cheating. We get carried away. As soon as we score some goals, we want to get more, and we start to get on the wrong side of the puck. The next thing you know, we’re not as good.
A real good win for our team against a real good team. We had lots of real good contributors. We’ve just got to figure out how to play and be poised and do it for 60 each and every night.
On whether he’s seen growth in his group since last year as far as how the team recomposed itself:
I mean, obviously, we’re a way better team than last year. We play better each night because you have to. The opponent plays better against us. I don’t know what our record was last year relative to this year, but I just know we’ve got to play better each night because we play a team that is prepared for us and is playing hard. So we’ve come a long way that way.
We’re in a journey and we’ve got a long way to go. By no means are we a poised, veteran group who does it right. We still have these emotional swings in a game because we get off track. In saying all of that, they’re the best team in hockey and I thought we can skate and play with anybody.
On the Matthews line’s big night up against the Stamkos line:
They were skating. Willy shot the puck. Matty made good plays. They were good. I thought we had lots of good players, though. That’s what you need. Mitch and his crew carried us the other night. We got a big game winner out of James again. I thought Leo was unreal at the end of the game. Kappy showed good speed. We’ve got lots of guys that are doing good things.