“We didn’t execute at a high enough level, we didn’t play right, and they were better than us – they won all the 50/50s, all the loose puck battles. …” — MIKE BABCOCK.

TAMPA BAY 7, TORONTO 3

WHAT THE MAPLE LEAFS HAD TO SAY

HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK

On tonight’s game:

Tonight was disappointing. It wasn’t like any of the other games we’ve been in, obviously. I mean, it was seven goals in the first period. I actually thought in the second we got it going but never got on the inside. They scored late and then we had no answer whatsoever. Any way you look at it, even going into the third, you can still leave the building feeling good if you perform right in the third and we didn’t. We didn’t execute at a high enough level, we didn’t play right, and they were better than us – they won all the 50/50s, all the loose puck battles, we took three penalties in the first and I thought that got us out of sync. It wasn’t a very good night for us. I thought it was going to be a hell of a game and I didn’t think it was.

On what led to the team getting out of sync:

I just thought in the first period some guys got cold and some guys got – we couldn’t play them because we turned the puck over two times on the penalty kill and the guys that were on ended up staying out there for 1:30, which is a long time. For whatever reason we weren’t good. Now, I think you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They were fast, they were on the puck, they were tenacious, they did it right. They stripped us from behind, they won 50/50 battles all over the rink, I thought. Even when we had the pucks out that meant they had the puck. In the end, it wasn’t good enough for us. Even when he had the pucks out, they had the puck.

On if losing the battles was the most discouraging part of the performance:

Well, obviously, when you look at what has gone on so far this year, I’ve liked the majority of everything that’s gone on. I didn’t tonight. You can be the coach, you can be a fan, you can be anybody to know whether you’ve won enough 50/50s tonight to give yourself a chance. We didn’t do that tonight. We didn’t look like a very good hockey club. They looked quicker, better, more organized – say whatever you want – more skilled, whatever you want. We didn’t give ourselves a chance.

On if the team had a problem with the faceoff that led to Kucherov’s power play goal:

It was a problem for me just the fact that we had Mitch [Marner] take it and we didn’t do what we were supposed to. We had – we’ve seen it before, we just didn’t do what we were supposed to do. Any way you look at it, when you get it organized, that’s on you as a coach. We got it organized, we talked about it but we didn’t do it. That’s on us.

On his level of concern after three losses:

I think any time you lose it’s a concern. That’s what I’d say to you. I really thought last game was our best game. We lost it. In the end, you’re in a points business and you’ve got to get points. We’ve got to clean this up and get back at ‘er. We play Detroit on Saturday.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (21 SAVES)

On facing a high-quality opponent that capitalizes on mistakes:

If you make mistakes out there, you’re going to pay for it. We just weren’t up to speed today and, yeah, we paid for it.

On where the team goes from here:

We’ve just got to get back to playing our way. We’re going to flush this one and I’m sure we can prepare for practice tomorrow and move forward.

On his teammates saying they didn’t help him tonight:

I don’t think I was without blame either. Definitely could have played some situations differently. They’re a good team down there too. When you do make mistakes, they usually capitalize pretty often on it.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On where things went wrong after a competitive first period:

I thought the first period was good, but you can’t give a team like that three opportunities on the man-advantage there in the first period because they’re going to capitalize, and they obviously did. It took away some momentum from us but 5-on-5 we were good there for a while and then they obviously took the lead there and then in the third period seemed like everything fell apart for us.

On if three losses in a row is cause for concern:

No, it’s early. I think obviously we’d like to have this game back, especially that third period. I thought going into it we felt like the game was still in reach but we kind of just gave it away there. Just mental errors, mental mistakes. We just have to regroup as a team and, obviously, big game against Detroit on Saturday night.

MORGAN RIELLY (22:57 TOI)

On what the club can learn from these past three games:

I think there’s lots of video to watch and things we can do better. This time of year can be difficult sometimes and I think tonight’s an example of a game we’ve got to learn from and, moving forward, it’s important we clean up certain areas of our game and we’ll make sure to do that.

On what he means by this being a difficult time of year:

I don’t mean anything by it. I just mean you’re getting used to new things and getting used to playing again. It’s time to bear down a little more than we did tonight. 

JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL)

On tonight’s game:

We just didn’t execute at a very high level and they did. We just didn’t do the right things that are going to consistently lead to good things and lead to results. That kind of effort tonight isn’t going to win us many hockey games.

On if three straight losses creates cause for concern:

Well, you never want to lose three in a row. I think the first two easily could have gone our way. Tonight, that’s just not good enough. We’ve got to come back to work and realize the way we played tonight, just like I said, isn’t good enough. We have to be a lot better, execute much more consistently and understand what’s going to bring us success and not feed into their type of game and their type of skill, the type of plays they can to make. We just didn’t do a good job of making it hard on them.

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