Big Mats calls out his team

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Mats Sundin is calling out his teammates.

And himself.

Either his Maple Leafs pick up their collective game in a hurry or they'll be picking up the pieces after yet another pair of humiliating losses to the rival Ottawa Senators.

Mired in a four-game losing funk, the Leafs now face back-to-back games in the nation's capital tomorrow and Monday against a Senators team that has outscored them 16-2 in their two previous meetings.

"If Ottawa doesn't bring the best out of us, I don't know what team is going to," Sundin said. "We have got to be ready. We definitely have to play our best to get points out of there."

Penalties and poor giveaways have been a lethal recipe for the struggling Buds, who find themselves precariously clutching to the eighth and final playoff spot in the eastern conference.

If the kinks cannot be worked out at practice today, the free fall will continue versus an extremely fast and talented Sens side that would love nothing better than to thump the Leafs.

Again.

"We're in a position where we have to cut down on the breakdowns in our own end right through the whole ice," Sundin said. "And stay out of the penalty box!

"We played good for a long stretch (last month). We have to get back to the things we were doing. If we can do that, we can get back to winning some games again."

The Sens sqeezed out shootout victories in their first two meetings with the Leafs this season.

The next two were butt-kickings.

On Oct. 29, Dany Heatley scored four times as the Sens whipped Toronto 8-0. It was the worst beating ever absorbed by the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

When the Battle of Ontario moved to Ottawa on Nov. 17, the Sens thumped Toronto 8-2. Owner Eugene Melnyk celebrated Ottawa's final goal by breaking out into a jig.

"Whatever happened in the past, stays in the past.We're not going to look back on those games," defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo said.

"We find ourselves in a little bit of a slump now. And there is no better place to get rid of it, playing against a team we haven't beaten all year. They always come out fired up against us.We have to be more fired up than they are."


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