Leafs wary of letting down

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

The Maple Leafs open a three-game home stand tonight versus the Carolina Hurricanes after three days of practice, but it sounds like coach Pat Quinn would have liked a few more workouts.

"(The players) have been pretty relaxed in the last two practices and I did not like how we went through them," Quinn said. "That's part of being around guys, that ebb and flow of attention that is part of coaching."

But don't think for a minute the Leafs are looking past the 'Canes to games with the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday and the Boston Bruins on Monday. Picked by no one to do anything this season, Carolina is 3-2 in five outings.

"I don't think anybody is taking anyone lightly anymore," Leafs winger Darcy Tucker said. "The task at hand is more important than anything else. We understand two points is very huge every night for us."

One trio whom Quinn looks upon for infectious energy was back as a line yesterday at Lakeshore Lions Arena. Second-year forward Matt Stajan was grouped with rookies Kyle Wellwood and Alexander Steen.

"Just their youth and enthusiasm," Quinn said when asked what he likes about having the three together. "I'm looking for a decent fourth or third unit, but it will depend on whether Nik comes back in."

That would be Nik Antropov, whose participation tonight is doubtful. Antropov missed practice for the second day in a row with an undisclosed injury.

Wellwood's defensive play has been the main question mark for the 22-year-old.

"I think I was okay with the old rules, but (now)I think my defence is really good," Wellwood said.

"My positioning has always been really good, but I have been outmuscled by the bigger players. There are a lot of cheaters who can take advantage by pulling on you. Without that, my defence is good."


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