CHICAGO 5, TORONTO 4. MAPLE LEAFS QUOTES: “Well, we’ve had injuries already this year, it’s part of the game. No question Mitch (Marner) is a huge part of our team, huge part of our success. It’s an opportunity for guys to step up, not expecting anyone to be Mitch, but as a group I think we have a lot of depth, a lot of talent to do the job we need to do.” — John Tavares

HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK

On tonight’s game:

We didn’t start very good, obviously. They shot it in our net. We thought we competed way earlier than the third but, in the end, we didn’t compete good enough or enough to win. So, we had lots of chances, their goalie was real solid, made lots of saves. In saying that, the first 10 minutes of the game wasn’t good enough. You spend the whole night battling, we were right there, we were right there for our opportunity at the end, but in the end we leave disappointed. It’s not going to go your way every night but you want to start better.

On his confidence level in Hutchinson:

I think big thing to do always is after a game, instead of commenting a whole bunch, I always want to watch the whole game and see where it’s at and go through every situation. There were a couple of – a power play goal where we left the net, there was another where we left the net – so I put those on us and not on the goaltender, but we’ll have a look at it.

On the play of Matthews and Nylander:

I thought they were dominant. I thought Kane’s line was dominant and I thought they were dominant and I played them way too much, but they were dominant and they played well, those guys.

On Nylander’s recent play:

I just think, obviously, right now he’s battling way harder so he has the puck way more and you end up with more shots and then you score a bit, you get more confidence and now you hit your spot because you take the time you need to hit your spot.

On the team approaching back-to-backs:

We haven’t done a good enough job this year. That was our fourth or fifth one this year and we’re 0-5 in those games – I think we’ve got one point if I’m not mistaken. That’s not good enough. We have [14] back-to-backs this year, you’ve got to get going, you’ve got to get points, you’ve got to get playing well. You have to leave the rink feeling good. We’ve just been on a good real good run here, feeling good about ourselves, started to get our swagger back and then we have to get regrouped after today.

On how he feels about Marner’s absence moving forward:

Well, no different than last night. Obviously, I talked to Mitch a few times here today. I’m disappointed for Mitch, I’m disappointed for our hockey team. In saying that, someone else is going to get an opportunity. As a coach, we’ve got to figure it out, get our lines – we had a different line for each period – we’ve got to get our lines right to maximize the group we have, get the right people in the right spots. That’ll give us a day tomorrow to figure it out and get back at it and figure it out.

On if he expects Hyman back next week:

Yeah, I thought we’ve had Hyman for a while though so I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I think we’re optimistic that’ll he’ll get going now. He’s probably not going to be the Hyman we all know, reasonably speaking that’s probably unfair, but we’d like to get him back, obviously.

MICHAEL HUTCHINSON (29 SAVES)

On the team’s overall game tonight:

I think if you look at what we did in the third period, I think that’s more the team that we can be like on a consistent basis. We played most of the third period in their zone, we got pucks to the net, we got to the rebounds and got retrievals. I think the third period is what we’ll look towards and looking at what we did there for success moving forward and trying to emulate that night in and night out.

On his own play tonight:

Obviously, five goals is never great. That first period they made some good plays, some high-end chances with some high-end skill players. The first one is a little bit of an unlucky bounce and from there the fifth goal, looking back on that, that one stings a bit. That’s one, a big save in the third period, is one you’d like to come up with. Knowing how the guys are pushing in the third period, it’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to make that save and give us a chance to come away with at least a point tonight.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (4 ASSISTS)

On going down 0-3 early in the first period:

I don’t know, it’s obviously been a bit of a problem for us this year. These back-to-backs have been killing us, especially that first period, so, I mean, we’ve just been finding ourselves in a hole early and having to crawl out of it. On one side you’re proud of the guys in this room for trying to crawl our way back but we shouldn’t have been in that situation to begin with.

On the team’s frustration level:

Well it’s really frustrating, I think everyone in the locker room is frustrated. I think it’s just the mindset coming in, that first period we’ve got to be ready to play, it’s got to come within each other, within the guys that lead this group and wear letters. We’ve got to be ready to go from puck drop. Tonight we left [Hutchinson] out to dry in that first period. I mean there’s really nothing he can do on any of those goals so that’s really on us.

WILLIAM NYLANDER (2 GOALS)

On the news that Mitch Marner will miss time due to injury and the importance of his line:

It’s tough to hear that, hopefully he has a speedy recovery and I’ve got to step it up here down the stretch.

On tonight’s start to the game:

I think we were just slow. They came out humming and we were just flat footed and then it was too late to get going. It’s something we’ve got to do better on back-to-backs.

On playing against his brother:

Of course it’s special playing here, been here a lot when I was a kid and playing against your brother is always special. Too bad we couldn’t come out on top tonight, though.

JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On falling behind 0-3 early in the game:

It’s not good enough. It starts with myself, leaving our goalie out to dry, one of the best players in the league coming down the slot, uncovered, untouched. We made it too easy for them and then the rest of the game we played hard, we competed, structure was much better and we gave ourselves a great opportunity, we just can’t start like we did and, again, it starts with me.

On the news that Mitch Marner will miss a minimum of four weeks:

Well, we’ve had injuries already this year, it’s part of the game. No question Mitch is a huge part of our team, huge part of our success. It’s an opportunity for guys to step up, not expecting anyone to be Mitch, but as a group I think we have a lot of depth, a lot of talent to do the job we need to do.

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