Head coach Mike Babcock met with the media after returning home from Boston down 2-0 in the best-of-seven quarterfinal series.
You guys come in here today looking to get regrouped. Where do you feel like the confidence and preparedness the group is at right now?
Babcock: Any way you look at it, we’re down 0-2. We haven’t been as good as we’re capable of being. When you go right through it, the way I look at it, there are so many things we can do better. They scored a goal that was offside; we didn’t have the stuff and we didn’t do that. Our penalty kill hasn’t been as good. We’ve left our goalies alone. We’ve had two too-many-men penalties where a guy was substituting for another guy. All of those things, when you look at it, it hasn’t gone very good. That’s real disappointing.
In saying all of that, this is our first game at home in front of our crowd. We’re going to be great. We’ll get re-energized here today. Basically, we brought them in here today to clean the mechanism out. Let’s get ready to go and get after it. We spent all year preparing for this opportunity and we put in a lot of work, and we don’t feel we’ve been as good as we’re capable of being. That part is disappointing. The other part is we know how good we are and we want to play that well.
What does the start need to be tomorrow night to get back to that?
Babcock: I thought, actually, we started pretty good last night. We came out and were on top of it. When they shot it, it went in the net. We’ve got to do a better job in front of our goalie. Any way you look at it, their one line is having too much fun. We’ve got to look after that. The second thing is, our play in front of our net hasn’t been good enough for us to have success. We’ve got to clean that up.
What do you do about that line tomorrow night?
Babcock: We’ve got to play hard against them. We’ve got last change. I’ll tell you [the lines] tomorrow during warmup.
Do you have an update on Leo Komarov?
Babcock: Yeah. He’s going to get checked out here later today, and then we’ll have a better read. What I’m planning on doing is going without him, and then if he shows up, he shows up.
What changes are you contemplating as far as line changes?
Babcock: I have to make one if Leo is not in. I’ll figure that out and let you know tomorrow.
Going back to Freddy?
Babcock: Oh yeah, for sure. 100%. He’s our guy. The puck was going in and it wasn’t going our way, so we got him out. But I’ve said to you already a couple of times this morning: We haven’t done a very good job in front of him. You’ve got to give your goalie a chance to be good. We haven’t done that. Freddy is our guy. He’ll be back tomorrow.
Given the outcomes of Games 1 and 2, is it just a matter of keeping your guys loose going into it?
Babcock: I think, when you look at it, in our first game, I thought we were tight. I didn’t think that was the case yesterday. I thought we had good energy, good execution. I thought we were jumping. Now, when the puck goes in your net as many times as it did in a hurry, now you’re scratching your head and now you’ve got to crawl your way back.
That is what today was – let’s get ourselves relaxed today. Stay off social media. It’s probably not helping you out today. Wait until it goes real good, and then if you want to get a pat on the back, you can do it. Right now, that’s probably not a good idea for you. And then come in here tomorrow, have a good morning skate, relax, and get ready for the game.
Andersen: “We’re capable of better, myself included”
Frederik Andersen on what’s gone wrong through two games and where the team needs to be better:
It’s just some small details around our net; a few things – some bounces – came out on their end. I think an early save on that first goal would’ve been huge. That’s playoff hockey for you. Sometimes, you make that save and we build off of that. I know we’re capable of playing better, myself included. We can just look forward and turn the page for tomorrow.
Andersen on his confidence level after giving up five in Game 1 and getting pulled after three early goals in Game 2:
I feel good. When I look at a game like that, I think some bounces here and there can change things. I know one big save can change the series in a game like that. It’s what we do from now on. We feel really good at home, so we want to come out flying tomorrow.
Morgan Rielly on what needs to improve defensively in Game 3:
We’ve got to keep them off our net a little bit. We went over their goals here this morning. They are all from in tight, it seems. They’re getting to our net and they’re getting pucks to our net. We’ve got to do a better job of boxing them out and blocking shots.
Rielly on the team needing to reset as the series returns home:
That’s not the way we planned the first two games to go. In order to get back to where we need to be, we have to find the confidence again. It’s important that we recognize the mistakes we made in Games 1 and 2 and we build a game plan that is going to make us successful. There were points in the game last night where we were able to control the puck in their end more. It’s important that we look at that and look at what we did to create those opportunities, and try to replicate those in Game 3, and do it more consistently.
Tyler Bozak on what the team needs to do to fight their way back in the series:
Just play our game. We kind of got away from some things in the first two games, obviously. Last game, a few bounces early didn’t go our way and we kind of got behind the eight ball. It is tough to crawl back against a team like that that plays so well defensively. We’ve just got to get off to a better start here at home and try to get a lead and go from there.
It is a seven-game series for a reason. There is no reason to get down and frustrated this early in the series. That is only going to hurt you. We just have to stay positive and get back to what we do and try to get back into the series.
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