Mike Babcock told the media after his team's 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, ending Lightning's nine-game winning streak.
In the team's return performance:
I thought we had a good effort tonight. I thought we had everyone on board. I thought Fred was really good at third, obviously, and at the end of the way. But I thought our team played well. We could have so much more. I thought the goalkeeper was good too.
It was a good win for our team. We have not been as sharp here as lately, as you know. I thought this was a good answer. We talked a lot about it – getting back on track, working hard and doing it right. I thought we did it tonight.
In his team increasing his "level of competition:"
For sure. It was a very competitive game. There was not much space for any team, especially in two periods. I thought our guys really dug there and worked hard and competed a lot.
In that he clicked for Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau, ending his goalless takedowns:
That's a great question. Patty had not been in the council for some time. Naz, obviously, was not so good the other night. Was it just Kapanen to be with them? I do not know, but they had a good night for us and set the tone and made us go.
In the Leafs PK, adjusting and keeping the Lightning PP off the scoresheet after the 1-0 goal of the PP:
I thought the first one was a leap … come straight to it. We expected to be hit and it did not happen. They probably looked better afterwards and did not enter. But they are a good team and you do not want to be in the box. You want to play discipline, but it was good to kill for our faces. Obviously, Freddy was good.
In the Leafs avoiding a sequence of defeats of three games:
I say this all the time: you always want your low spells to be as short as you can. This, for me, lasted long. Now, we do not have Freddy for a while and all that, but I still do not think we went in as we could. It was great to see. We have to get back to work. You need to work at a high level if you want … If you have skill and do not work, you do not win anyway. You need to compete at a high level.
In Auston Matthews, picking up his game lately:
I thought he was very good. I thought this last bit while it's getting better and better. Every time you go … I thought he had a great start this year. He was injured. You always have that initial bump, and then reality sets in. But I think he's really digging. I thought he was really good without the disc.
On Matthews' abilities when he is competing hard and using his size offensively:
He is such a great man and he can protect the disc. Physical in attack. He will never really be so physical in defense; only physical in attack, protecting the disk and hanging on it and taking a lot. I thought that line was effective.