Still a few things to work out

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Pat Quinn watched his club practise this past week and remarked a couple of times that he was not happy with what he viewed as a relaxed atmosphere.

That attitude carried over to last night and the Maple Leafs were lucky to emerge from the Air Canada Centre with a 5-4 overtime victory against the Carolina Hurricanes.

But blowing a pair of two-goal leads -- or any type of lead for that matter -- as the Leafs did before Ken Klee scored his first of the season on a shot from the point with 15.8 seconds left in the extra frame has become de rigeur in the new NHL.

"For me it was not very much fun," Quinn said. "We kind of played like we practised the past couple of days. The lines weren't sharp, our conditioning was not good and we gambled a lot. It's all the things you don't want to see (but some people in our business) want to see that river hockey."

Klee's goal, with Eric Staal in the penalty box serving a high-sticking minor, gave the Leafs their fourth win in a row. Eric Lindros, who has scored in all of the victories, Darcy Tucker, Alex Steen and Matt Stajan also scored for Toronto. In his first career game against his former club, Leafs winger Jeff O'Neill went without a point.

The Leafs' vaunted power play was 1-for-6.

Oleg Tverdovsky, Rod Brind'Amour, Erik Cole and Cory Stillman scored for Carolina. Eric Staal had three assists.

The Leafs were outshot 32-23 and likely would have lost had hotshot rookie goalie Cam Ward lived up to the early-season hype. Stajan scored a short-handed goal late in the second after he burst past Tverdovsky and went high on Ward, who was too far back in his net. Lindros' goal, which gave Toronto a 4-2 lead at 4:59 of the third, was from a bad angle.

Leafs goalie Ed Belfour made some big saves, but none bigger than when he stopped Brind'Amour on a short-handed breakaway not long before Klee scored.

Belfour had some bad luck on the tying goal by Stillman with 2:28 left in regulation. A seemingly harmless shot from 40 feet went off Bryan McCabe and into the net past Belfour.

Belfour has 438 career wins, giving him sole possession of third place on the NHL career list. He is behind Terry Sawchuk (447)and Patrick Roy (550).

Klee was not too bothered by the Leafs' inability to hold on to a lead, though he acknowledged the four days off since the team's previous game did not help.

"Not every game is going to be the prettiest game," Klee said. "It used to be a third-period lead was rock-solid and now it is not. We need to bear down. But we have to get two points and that is what we did."

The Leafs' Kid Line of Stajan, Steen and Kyle Wellwood was one of the highlights, specifically the play of Steen. At this rate it's becoming clear he likely never will have to play a game in the minors unless it's for injury rehabilitation. Quinn complimented Steen, saying, "He was our best forward, without question."

Expect the Leafs to practise hard today before a home game tomorrow night versus the Philadelphia Flyers.

"It takes some work," Quinn said. "(They) have to practice the mental side of the game as well.

"(If you think) you can come to games and turn it on, already you are in a frame of mind you should not be in."


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