Slow start to games killing Leafs

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

A few more starts like this will spell the end of the Maple Leafs season.

It always seems to be the same old story for the Leafs of late.

Get down early. Try to claw back.

But if this trend continues with just 10 games remaining, the Leafs will be hard-pressed to wriggle their way into the playoffs.

In their past four games the Maple Leafs have allowed the first goal, putting them behind the 8-ball from the get-go.

To their credit, they started out this dubious streak by posting comeback wins against the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Unfortunately for coach Paul Maurice, those come-from-behind wins were followed up by a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Washington Capitals Friday and a heartbreaking 3-2 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens Saturday.

The game against the Habs was just 19 seconds old when defenceman Ian White already found himself in the penalty box for high-sticking the Canadiens' Alexei Kovalev. While the Habs didn't score on the ensuing power play, they came very close, hitting two posts.

The Canadiens would go on to post a 1-0 lead and an 11-3 advantage in shots through the first 12 minutes before the Leafs found their legs.

"We've been slow out of the gate lately and I can't explain it," a perturbed Mats Sundin said. "We have to straighten that out.

"The only thing I'm disappointed in, is the start of the game. We played well. It's just our start. We were the better team after the first 12 minutes."

THE SKED AHEAD

Of the 10 games remaining on the Maple Leafs schedule, nine will come against teams either tied with the Leafs or ahead of them in the standings.

The lone exception will be the matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 3 at the Air Canada Centre.

Six of the final 10 games will be home dates.


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