HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK
On if he saw indications that the team would give up its third period lead:
I didn’t think we skated very good all night, to be honest with you. Right from the start to the finish, I thought – we were obviously in a good spot, we weren’t real crisp. The way I look at it is we had three games in four nights and we knew going in this was going to be a grind. We got five out of six points. I thought it was a huge goal, the guys executed real good there with Mitch [Marner] going behind his back to [Barrie] there to get us the goal to equalize. It’s disappointing because you were up, for sure. On the other side of that is it’s a lot of hockey right out of the gate. It’s not like you’re in the middle of November or something like that. I thought we looked like we had no gas – I thought the Kerfoot line looked like they had some, but other than that I didn’t think we had lots.
On Kapanen triggering a penalty shot by throwing his stick:
I’ve never seen that play by anybody ever. I’m sure he feels bad and he’d like to have it back, but you can’t get it back. So, we’ve all got to learn from it. The lessons are important during the year and we got one.
On if he talks to Kapanen about the error on the bench or after the game:
I’ll talk to him, but I’m not talking to him now. He’s going to have enough people telling him. He’ll probably get the message pretty good, I’d imagine.
On Hutchinson’s performance:
Actually, I felt bad for Hutch because, to me, we hung him out to dry and I thought Hutch had done a good enough job. When we were up early he had made some real good saves. They were skating by us and he made some good saves. It’s unfortunate you come in as the backup in a big game and you’re in a good spot and it doesn’t go the way you want. You want a game you can build on and feel better, but that’s part of pro sports too. It’s not supposed to be easy. Dig in, you’ve got a good day off, enjoy your family and get ready for the next one.
On if he’s learned anything about the team through three games:
I’ve liked our team – not tonight – but even at the end of exhibition I’ve liked our team. I think we’ve got a good team, I think we play pretty hard, I think we can put a lot of pressure on the opposition. I didn’t think we did that tonight, but I didn’t think we had the same kind of juice we normally have for whatever reason. In the end, it showed.
On if he’ll continue rotating the lineup next game:
I’m going back to whatever I’m doing.
On what has allowed the Kerfoot line to have success:
Kerf – I think he’s a good player. He’s got some grease to him, he enjoys it, he’s smart, he’s competitive, he seems to be feeling good and understanding how to play. Lots of our game tonight wasn’t as organized as you’d like it to be. I think Mikheyev is a really good player. I don’t think he – I put him out there killing the penalty there in overtime and I didn’t know for sure if he understood what I was telling him, but he did it anyway and looked good doing it. That’s good, he’s getting better every day. And [Moore] is a good, young kid that’s working hard. I thought he had a real good forecheck tonight to turn that puck over that allowed Kerf to score. I didn’t think Mooresy was as good last night, but he was real good tonight.
MICHAEL HUTCHINSON (37 SAVES)
On the overtime penalty kill effort:
I felt good in net. It was an unfortunate break, but I think [Tavares] probably saved a goal taking that penalty. That’s a really good penalty to take. When he sacrificed for that, you want to bail him out and give us a chance to win it killing off that penalty. It was nice we got the kill on that one and it was just unfortunate we couldn’t get one past him.
On what he was thinking about prior to the penalty shot:
Nothing really. I didn’t know it was a penalty shot for throwing your stick, I thought it was just a penalty. It seemed like it took forever for them to set that up so about 30 seconds in I realized it was a penalty shot. He just came down and was able to get it over my pad. It’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to make that save and bail the team out.
On playing in Toronto on a Saturday night against Montreal:
It was a lot of fun. It was one of those games you look forward to and that was my first time playing against Price. That was a little bit of extra incentive. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get the two points, but I thought the guys battled so hard. The second game of back-to-backs – even giving up that fifth goal and coming back and tying it up with the extra attacker was huge for us. We don’t quit and our skill really came through.
KASPERI KAPANEN (17:45 TOI)
On what was going through his mind when taking the penalty in the third period:
Not much, I was out there for a bit and was pretty tired. I just blocked that shot and, honestly, I didn’t even think I was going to hit him, but just kind of threw my stick that way and hit him so I guess you get a penalty shot for that. I take full responsibility of my actions and they tied it up so, obviously, I feel bad about it.
On if anyone talked to him about it:
Nothing really, I know everybody knows it’s a big mistake on my part and if I knew that rule existed or if I thought I was actually going to hit his stick I wouldn’t have done that but, like I said, I take full responsibility.
ALEX KERFOOT (1 GOAL, 2 ASSISTS)
On the play of his line tonight:
I thought [Trevor Moore] was buzzing. He was disrupting plays all over the ice and making plays with the puck. He kind of created both of our line’s goals tonight. Both of those guys are so strong on pucks and their details are good. They’re fun to play with.
On if he’s developed chemistry with Moore and Ilya Mikheyev quickly:
It’s been, like, three games so it’s going to take a while. I think there’s still things that we can clean up on but, like I said, they’re good players and their details are so good that it’s easy to play with them.
On his third period interference penalty:
I think that’s careless on my part. That’s a cross-check and it’s going to get called most of the time. I’ve had two of those now so I should probably stop doing it.
AUSTON MATTHEWS (2 GOALS)
On tonight’s third period breakdown:
I think obviously we’re back-to-back, it’s no secret we were probably going to be fatigued but we can’t let that get in the way, making bone-headed mistakes and costing us opportunities at the other end that they’re capitalizing on. It’s definitely something we can learn from but it’s something we’ve run into in the past. I think it’s just on us to make sure no matter how tired we are we’re making good decisions and taking care of the puck and playing in their zone, not ours.
On how bad Kapanen felt after the play that led to the penalty shot:
You’ll have to ask him, I’m sure he doesn’t feel great but we’re going to win as a team and lose as a team and you’re going to make mistakes.
On what changed after they got up 4-1:
Mentally we just weren’t there. We were making mistakes and they capitalized on them.
JOHN TAVARES (20:12 TOI)
On if playing in the second leg of a back-to-back played a factor in the third period:
I don’t think so. We started off pretty good in the third. Obviously, got a big goal to extend the lead and then we just made some mistakes and they gained some momentum and let them back in it. They found some more energy and more life than we did. We responded and got it to overtime. We had our opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize.
On Kapanen’s penalty in the third period:
He made a reactionary move and I don’t think realized what the consequences were. It’s a mistake and I know he’ll bounce back from it. We’re there for him, it happens, and we had our opportunities after that.