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Leafs focus on tightening up defensively

Canadian Press

10/27/2006 6:41:07 PM

MONTREAL (CP) - It was a relaxed bunch of Toronto Maple Leafs at practice Friday, their smiles and laughs a stark contrast to their depressing run of late.

Even head coach Paul Maurice kept the mood light, when one would have perhaps expected a more stern approach following back-to-back hammerings at the hands of the Ottawa Senators.

''You can't have your foot on it all the time,'' the Leafs coach said prior to Saturday's game against the Montreal Canadiens. ''Clearly there were things that weren't very good but we addressed it and after you address it you move on to the next game. We've discussed the happenings of the last two games and what happens if we continue to go forward.''

If the Leafs continue to give up nearly five goals a game, then things are going to get uglier. After opening the season allowing only seven goals against in four games, Toronto has been scored upon 33 times in its last seven games, dropping the Leafs to 24th in the 30-team NHL with an average of 3.64 goals against per game.

''There are some things we're doing now that we weren't doing four games ago,'' Maurice said. ''And it's pretty consistent. Our forwards our putting our defencemen in such a difficult position to defend that they are looking porous to say the least. We're getting caught standing still against speed.''
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