Gagne: Losing to Leafs 'not acceptable'

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers had a hard time digesting last night they had flubbed a chance to move into a share of first place in the Atlantic Division, especially since they lost to the Maple Leafs.

"It is not acceptable," forward Simon Gagne said. "I don't want to say Toronto is a bad team, they played well and are desperate. We got desperate when it was 3-1 but you have to play 60 minutes.

"Some nights it is like that, some nights it is just mental."

The Flyers will get another crack at the Leafs April 8, when Toronto visits again.

Philadelphia had won four in a row and five of six. Had it been victorious last night, it would have had 92 points, the same as division leaders New York Rangers.

Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock watched on TV as the Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils on Sunday night so he had an idea of what might be in store for his club.

"We had the wrong attitude to start the game," Hitchcock said.

"We knew what the game was going to be like. They played a heavy game, an old NHL game. When you give a team that is in a desperate state like Toronto an opening, they are going to follow through. We made a lot of mistakes."

What the Flyers could not combat was the Leafs' five-on-five play. They beat the Flyers to all the loose pucks and did not commit as many giveaways (five to the Flyers' 13).

"It's tough to win games when you're only scoring on the power play," Mats Sundin said. "It has been a strength of ours in the past, and it's nice to see we can still (be effective at even-strength)."

As Gagne lamented the lack of mental preparedness by his teammates, Leafs coach Pat Quinn, who complimented rookie defenceman Ian White for the second game in a row, stressed the importance of it down the hallway outside the Toronto dressing room.

"It's playing when you have to be good and execute," Quinn said."That is a learning process, and sometimes it can be a painful one. Many of these young men have a lot of years in front of them and they will not be good players in the future unless they work on the mental side."


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