With a young team, the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to go through some growing pains this season. After their last loss, however, coach Ron Wilson was more concerned about the veterans.
The Maple Leafs try to bounce back from a disappointing follow up to a promising season opener when they host the St. Louis Blues on Monday.
Toronto (1-1-0) is coming off a dismal effort at home in a 6-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday. Toronto was trying to build off a 3-2 road win over the defending champion Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, but allowed three power-play goals in a 5:28 stretch in the second period en route to the loss.
Vesa Toskala allowed all six goals before backup Curtis Joseph played the final 20 minutes. Jason Blake scored on a power play in the second period for the Maple Leafs' only goal.
"We took way too many penalties and our penalty-killing didn't work," Leafs forward Niklas Hagman said. "Up against a team like that, if we start running around, they're going to make plays."
Toronto, which has only killed off six of its first 10 penalties, had the second-worst power-play kill percentage last season (78.1 percent) when it finished last in the Northeast Division with 83 points. Overall, the Maple Leafs allowed 260 goals in 2007-08 - third-most in the NHL - but they hoped an influx of young players could improve the situation.
Wilson, Toronto's new coach, said it wasn't inexperience that should be blamed for the poor effort on Saturday.
"Our veteran defensemen, who have been playing 10 years, have to get used to the speed of the NHL," he told the Maple Leafs' official Web site. "It wasn't our young players that laid an egg. It was some of the veteran guys who probably want to say it was the young guys who didn't get the job done. Some of the veteran guys have to step up in a situation like that. I thought Mikhail Grabovski and (18-year-old rookie) Luke Schenn were two of our better people. We need more from our other guys."
The Maple Leafs are winless in their last seven home games against St. Louis since beating the Blues 3-2 Feb. 4, 1998, and lost 3-2 to them last season.
St. Louis (1-1-0), meanwhile, also suffered a setback after it opened the season with a promising 5-2 win over Nashville on Friday. The Blues came out flat the next night in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders.
Chris Mason gave up four goals in the first period as the Blues were outshot 15-6. Keith Tkachuk drew St. Louis within 4-2 with his third power-play goal of the season in the third, but St. Louis got no closer.
"We came out flat-footed," said Mason, who served as Manny Legace's backup on Friday. "We were outplayed in the first period. They were fired up. They came out and threw a lot of pucks at us. They had a lot of energy. After the first, we settled down, but we were embarrassed with our effort in the first."
Legace will likely be back in net on Monday. He is 2-4-0 with a 2.98 goals-against average facing Toronto.