Power play needs boost

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Paul Maurice stopped short of calling out his three big-ticket players yesterday.

But the Maple Leafs coach did not mince his words when addressing the woes of a foundering power play that has plummeted to 22nd in the league.

The inability of the Leafs to score with the man advantage is a significant reason for the team's three-game losing streak, and the coach knows it.

"It's a concern because we've got three of our top earners there that feel that pressure and want to be good at it," Maurice said, referring to Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle and Mats Sundin.

Is he concerned about the lack of offence from McCabe and Kaberle thus far?

"In so far as how it relates to our power play, yes. And Mats too really. We're not generating anything any more. For a while I liked our power play at the start of the year. Bryan was getting shots and he was pounding it. Mats was too. We were taking it to the net and it looked good.

"(But) we've been dry. We've been dry for three or four games now. We're concerned about it."

During practice yesterday Maurice preached the need for his players to keep their feet moving.

"We get caught standing still against speed," he said. "As a defenceman, as soon as your confidence goes a little, you give up ice. You don't close the gap as much because you don't feel strong one-on-one and I think you saw it in our game."

LOOSE LEAFS

Judging by line combination at practice yesterday, Alexei Ponikarovsky could move back to the top unit with Sundin and Kyle Wellwood for tonight's tilt with the Habs at the Bell Centre. If that is the case, Alex Steen would be reunited with Jeff O'Neill and Matt Stajan ... Forward Nik Antropov will be a game day decision after missing most of the season with an ankle sprain ... Maurice is looking forward to the electricity in the Bell Centre tonight in this, his first regular-season Habs-Leafs game in Montreal in which he'll be behind the Leaf bench. "When they play each other, it should be Saturday night because your childhood memory is always these two teams on a Saturday. And that is clearly the best part of this job. "I can absolutely tell you the best walk in hockey is off that bench when you win -- by far."


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