MONTREAL -- Both Claude Julien and Pat Quinn saw the warning signs before last night's runaway game, in both official languages.
The respective coaches have had nerves frayed by teams that seem unwilling to admit that the new National Hockey League requires a better commitment to detail.
Quinn took a risk by playing the same Maple Leafs lineup that came unglued in the third period the night before against Buffalo, but though the Montreal Canadiens started the night eight points ahead, their bad habits proved more costly in the 5-4 overtime loss.
Though they'd won 10 of 12 games by a goal, Julien saw trouble brewing during the week and lost his temper at practice on Friday. He had ordered them to shell rookie Tampa goaltender Brian Eklund and they responded with 12 shots in two periods, then let a weary Pittsburgh beat them in a shootout.
Last night, they failed to kick in the Leafs when they were down in both the first and third periods.
"I really felt there were games where we really didn't need to be in those (one-goal) situations," Julien said yesterday morning.
Quinn is worried about his own team's confidence, case in point their shaky play after Jason Allison's unexpected game-tying goal last night in the third period.
"We checked well up ice after the tying goal, but our defence didn't want (the puck) and they gave it right back," Quinn said. "That's when you say it's not good enough to keep them off the scoreboard, we have to win this game."
Earlier in the day, Quinn said that lack of focus had factored into the club's scant two road victories.
"We're not winning on the road because we're not controlling our own game as well as we need to," Quinn said. "That has to come out of our game, the turnovers and gambling. On nights when the other team is a little bit better at creating, you lose hockey games."