TORONTO - Goaltender Jonathan Bernier knows he has to have more consistency in his game for the Maple Leafs to have success.
A night after Bernier had what coach Mike Babcock referred to as his "best night of the year", the Toronto netminder responded by allowing four goals on 32 shots in a 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
The 27-year-old, who saw his record drop to 0-6-1 on the season, doesn't have a regulation win in 18 straight starts dating back to March 3 of last season.
"I've got to be better. Every time you give up four goals, obviously it's not a good game," he said post-game.
Bernier looked particularly bad on the Penguins' third and fourth goals of the night.
Following a Martin Marincin turnover at the Penguins blue line, Matt Cullen beat Bernier blocker-side on a two-on-one chance to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead at 10:29 of the second.
Then at 4:31 of the third, Patric Hornqvist picked up a Brian Dumoulin dump in off the end boards and beat Bernier for his second of the year and the Penguins' fourth of the night.
"It's not fun to be a part of what's going on right now," said Bernier, who was making back-to-back start on consecutive nights for the first time this season. "I think as a group we've just got to work harder everyday and that's the bottom line."
At the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves to record his 40th career shutout. The Penguins goaltender improved to 6-4-0 on the season.
The 30-year-old Sorel, Que. native believes Bernier will bounce back from his poor start to the season.
"I feel fortunate, I think our team was the better team tonight, and I was on the right side of it," Fleury said.
"You always cheer for your friend... you want him to do good. But once you're out there, you want to win the game. I'm glad we won, but he has more games to come, so I'm sure he'll be fine."
Things don't get easier for the Leafs, who entertain a Dallas Stars team on Monday that has won three straight and sit atop the Central Division with a 9-2-0 record.
"We've got to be mentally tougher," said Leafs' centre Tyler Bozak, who finished with a minus-2 rating in the loss. "We get down in games, that's a lot of in between the ears, we've got to be tougher. There's no excuse tonight. You can say we had the back-to-back or whatever, but we didn't compete hard enough, we didn't work hard enough (and) we didn't play the system well enough."