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Maple Leafs have 'honest family discussion' after rough loss to Lightning

Players 'embarrassed,' focused on improving defense to end three-game losing streak

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

TORONTO -- Tyson Barrie did not hold back Friday, one day after the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 7-3 at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning to extend their losing streak to three games (0-2-1).

"We all came away a bit embarrassed by that," said Barrie, who was minus-4 in 19:37 of ice time. "They outworked us in our own building and kind of made us look silly. That's not a fun feeling and wasn't fun today at the rink, so we've got to learn from it."

The Maple Leafs held a meeting before practice that coach Mike Babcock called an "honest family discussion" when insufficient performances were held accountable.

"It can be a bit eye-opening," Barrie said. "If you think you are better than you are, where you can go into a game against a team like Tampa Bay and trade chances and think you're going to come out on top, that's not the recipe for success. We learned that the hard way."

Defenseman Cody Ceci, who was minus-1 in 20:52, said, "There are teams that are just as skilled as us, and if they work harder than us, they're going to win. It was a bit of a wake-up call. It is great that it is this early in the season, we can address it right away and we have a game tomorrow night to bounce back. We have to put it behind us, but we also have to remember what it's like if we don't show up to work."

The Maple Leafs (2-2-1) play at the Detroit Red Wings (3-1-0) on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, FS-D, NHL.TV). Forwards Nic Petan and Jason Spezza, who each was called for a penalty in the first period that led to a Lightning power-play goal, are expected to be scratched. Nicholas Shore and Dmytro Timashov, who were scratched the past two games, are expected to take their place in the lineup.

"We want to nip a game like the Lightning loss in the bud and move forward to get back on track," captain John Tavares said. "We obviously haven't got the results we wanted over the last three games. That's not our standard or expectation."

Toronto squandered a 4-1 third-period lead against the Montreal Canadiens in a 6-5 shootout loss Saturday, then lost 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues on Monday after leading 2-1 entering the final minute of the second period.

"We had a good game against the Blues," Barrie said. "That's a good team, obviously, and it was a hard-fought one. It was nothing like the one we had last night against Tampa Bay."

Babcock said there are lessons to be learned from the loss to the Lightning, but the focus must be on playing better against the Red Wings.

"Any way you look at it [Tampa Bay] outplayed us," Babcock said. "They were quicker, they won more races, they had more structure, they were better, so that's unacceptable and we need to fix that. We gave up chances like we don't normally give up, so that was the biggest concern."

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