Lack of Effort Surprises Quinn
by John McCauley
November 23, 2005
(TORONTO) -- After four straight wins it looked as though a three-day break would help the Toronto Maple Leafs recharge their batteries, but it was the Boston Bruins who looked energized, Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre.
To say the Leafs came out of the first period a little lethargic is more than an understatement and it continued for the majority of the game in 5-1 loss to their division rivals.
Two first period power play goals by Glen Murray came about after his team fired 18 shots towards Ed Belfour, who didn't look as sharp as he had been in his previous three starts, although he didn't get much help from his mates.
The Bruins forechecked hard on what looked like a very disinterested Leafs team. Toronto managed just four shots on goal with a grand total of one scoring chance on a Mats Sundin backhand in the first frame.
"I don't think we worked as hard as them and that's why it ended up the way it did," said Alexander Steen, who again led the Leafs in ice time with 18:39.
Why would a team riding a four-game winning streak start the first 20 minutes of play with absolutely zero in the energy department? That was the million-dollar question for Pat Quinn after the game.
"I don't know if you ever figure those things out. Sometimes you don't see it coming. We were doing all the wrong things. We got what we earned or didn't earn tonight," said Quinn.
"We didn't execute any basics. It was pretty ugly right from the start."
Coming out for the second period the Leafs strung together four of five good shifts, but the good work took a turn for the worse when Belfour tried a quick-up pass to keep the pressure on Boston. The puck popped up just as he was firing the pass and it went straight up in the air. The veteran netminder tried to coral it, but after a small scramble Patrice Bergeron slid it into an empty net as Belfour swung his stick in disgust.
"You can't fault him on the first two ... he did fan on the one but hell he didn't have much of a team in front of him," said Quinn.
Bruins capitalized on a 2-on-1 break minutes later and finished the period up by four. The story was really told with the fact Boston had 30 shots with 4:17 left in the third period.
As any coach would do when his team is clicking he juggled the lines looking for spark.
For the first time on a regular shift this season Sundin and Eric Lindros skated with one another while Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood and Matt Stajan had some success as a unit. Tucker scored the Leafs lone marker. The only line to remain intact was Jason Allison, Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky.
"For so many players to be off their games. There was no clue in our practices, no clue in our prior games. All I know is will come in tomorrow and put it right again," said Quinn.
Now the Leafs have started a five games in seven nights stretch and will have to work quickly to find whatever was missing against the Bruins.