Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, the team’s franchise record-setting 10th consecutive win on home ice.
On the team’s line balance against a deep Penguins team:
I thought it was good. I thought it looked like we had four days off early. As hard as you practice, you’re still a little bit sluggish. Plus, they got on the power play right away. I thought our penalty kill was real good early and gave us a chance. All of the guys were important tonight, so I thought that was good. Good win for our team, especially when you haven’t played well the past two games. You want to get back on track.
On the team winning 10 in a row at home:
You want to be real good at home. And you want to, obviously, be real good on the road. I don’t know why it sometimes goes better that way. In Detroit, one year we won on the road all the time and we weren’t very good at home. The next year, we won at home all the time and couldn’t win on the road. I don’t have all of those answers. Obviously, you always want to be comfortable in your own building. It’s great for the guys to come here. They feel good and they believe they have a chance to win.
On the performance of the fourth line (Josh Leivo – Tomas Plekanec – Kasperi Kapanen):
I thought they were good. Pleky gets better and better as he gets more comfortable. Obviously, when we have Matty, too, we’ll have more depth in our lineup. I think we have a chance to have four really, really good lines.
On the goaltender interference call on Brian Dumoulin:
The greatest thing about all of this stuff is that I’ve had enough of my own issues with this stuff. It does you no good to talk about it, so…
On William Nylander’s performance in a tough matchup against Evgeni Malkin:
I didn’t think we got a lot done offensively. In saying all of that, though… You’re playing against a really good player. He dominates lots of people, and I thought they played it real well that way. Good for him and good for us.
On a perfect night for the penalty kill against an elite power play:
Real good pressure. I thought [Polak] had maybe his best game since I’ve been here. I thought he was real effective and real hard. Our penalty kill had real good jump, real good pressure. And we won more faceoffs. We had Pleky on that helping a lot. You need to win those draws. If you get it out one time and they’ve got to enter, we can do a pretty good job. If they just wear you out, it makes it harder. I thought that was good.
On Nikita Zaitsev missing the game:
He just came in and had the flu. We just had to call Carrick. We didn’t know that had gone on. It just obviously had come on and he couldn’t get it under control, so we phoned ‘Cs’ on short notice.
On Mitch Marner tying his goals output from his rookie season with 19 and what’s changed after a slow start goals-wise:
Just getting the puck to the net, obviously. It’s like anything — when things go bad for you, and you get uncomfortable, it goes bad for longer. You’re tense and you’re pushing and it’s not going as good, and suddenly it’s not going as good. He has all of those things going for him now. He’s an important player for us because he can play with and without the puck. He’s dynamic on the power play for us. He hit the cross-bar as well. He had a pretty good night. That line was pretty effective.