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Defence Coverage & Powerplay Let Down

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

by John McCauley
October 8, 2005

(TORONTO) -- For the second straight game the Leafs threw a third period lead away and for the second straight game the powerplay couldn't bail them out.

Mike Ribeirio, left standing all alone at the side of Ed Belour, tapped in the game-winning goal with just 4:27 left in the third period. The marker gave the Canadiens a 5-4 victory and their third straight win to start the season.

Defensive pairing Aki Berg and Wade Belak were a collective minus-3 on the evening and they will be high on Joe Fan's list of people to blame for this loss.

"There's lots of reasons to believe that they can do well," Quinn said of Belak and Berg. "Good reach, both can skate. We'll go back and see why we're making those missed coverages."

Yes they made mistakes, but defence is a team concept and Quinn has always preached that you can't just leave your defenceman out there by themselves to stop the opposition. His ire was pointed as some of his forwards who let assignments slip as well.

Eric Lindros, who had another very strong game for the Blue and White, knows that the best way to correct the issues that have hampered the team is get back to the basics.

"There's some things that I think we can improve upon," Lindros said. "When we're on the forecheck we're a pretty good team. We just have to get back to basics."

Defenceman Ken Klee, who made his first start of the season after recovering from a heal bruise, wasn't about to make excuses.

"We beat ourselves. We made bad mistakes at the wrong times. Simply as that," said Klee.

In the new NHL a bad night on D can be made up for on the PP. The Leafs haven't been able to take advantage of the opportunities that the referees have been giving them. The team was 1-for-6 on the powerplay while Montreal was 2-for-4.

Toronto was not getting shots through from the point and when they did, there didn't seem to be anyone there to bang it in.

With big games coming up next week against Ottawa and Philadelphia it is imperative that the Leafs get back to the drawing board in their own end and on the powerplay.

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