Leaf fans are getting restless ...

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:56 PM ET

TORONTO - Let’s just say it wasn’t the kind of effort to encourage the purchase of any last-minute stocking stuffers with a blue Maple Leaf on it.

The Toronto fans, restless as ever, let the Leafs hear it throughout a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers last night at the ACC that was as good as over three minutes into the first.

There was another clown who threw waffles on the ice, but the less said about him the better.

There was booing, but that has been a regular part of the show for a team that has now just won one more home game than it has lost.

And there was a loud chant of “Fire Wilson” aimed at Leafs coach Ron Wilson.

“That’s getting sickening,” Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur said. “(The coaches) aren’t the ones out there not skating in the first five minutes. It’s about the guys in the room.”

“It’s not very pleasant to hear that chant or to be booed in your own building,” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. “It’s tough to hear and tough to take.”

GAME ON

Word is out that if you jump on the Leafs early, chances are you can take away their heart. Two goals 28 seconds apart in the first three minutes did just that. “You could sense (when they are struggling) and you want to jump on them,” said Thrashers winger Anthony Stewart, who had a goal and an assist. “We could sense that they were down.” The Leafs have been outscored 35-19 in first period this season and are now 4-15-1 when an opponent scores first ... Four of the Thrashers’ goals came on shots that originated from the point and that too was by design. Two were by point man Tobias Enstrom and two more on deflections by Freddy Modin. “That was the game plan, put the puck on (Jonas) Gustavsson,” Stewart said. “You know he’s going to kick it in his feet and it will be laying there.” ... Gustavsson had a shaky night prompting Wilson to give him the hook after the Thrashers went up 5-1 early in the third. That opened the door for Marlies call-up James Reimer to make his NHL debut. “He’s been struggling a little bit and I wanted him to battle through it,” said Wilson, who pondered yanking the Monster earlier. “I didn’t want our players to think the goalie was the excuse.”

MORE SCORE

The Leafs had 40 shots on goal for just the second time this season (to Atlanta’s 23) and had another 33 blocked. There were also a pair of near empty-netters missed on whiffs by Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg ... Wilson on the brutal start: “The first shift for every line and every pairing was a disaster.” ... As odd as it seems, we’re betting we haven’t seen the last of the waffle tossing. Monday’s miscreant managed to get a half dozen or more on the Air Canada Centre ice, box and all ... Reimer stopped all four shots he faced in the 14:09 he was in the net, which saw the Leafs too little, too late rally. “It’s not the situation I want to go in,” said Reimer, who has been called up three times now to back up when J-S Giguere has been hurt. “There were a lot of bad bounces (for Gustavsson)” ... Seeing some rare power-play duty, John Mitchell ended his 16-game pointless drought with his first goal of the season after Kessel missed a wide-open net. “It felt good, but I can’t go that far into the season before I get my first goal,” Mitchell said.

OVERTIME

Among the many glaring differences between these two teams, Atlanta defencemen have scored 22 goals this season to just six by Leafs blueliners ... Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle got his 500th career point on Mitchell’s goal which led to a good crack from radio analyst Jim Ralph: “Some would say his next milestone would be 500 shots on goal.” ... Sure it was a sleepy feeling building and they were perhaps a little leg-weary from the three-game Western Canada road trip, but Toronto didn’t get the puck into the Atlanta end until more than three minutes into the game ... One of the big reasons the Thrashers are battling for first in the Southeast Division (reclaiming first from idle Washington on Monday) has been their record on the road. With the latest win has them 5-1-1 in their past seven road contests. The Thrashers have now earned points in 14 of their past 16 games (12-2-2) ... Since Nazem Kadri was benched, the Leafs are now 0-2.


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