Schenn gets the job done

ROB LONGLEY

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

Rookie Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn continues to be a workhorse on the blueline, especially with injuries to veterans Mike Van Ryn and Jeff Finger keeping them out of the lineup.

Over the past six games, Schenn is averaging close to 25 minutes of ice time as he continues to learn his craft at the pro level.

"At 19-years-old, those are significant minutes," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "And that's without playing on the power play. If you are playing 25 to 30 minutes, usually you've got seven or eight power-play minutes in there. That's five-on-five, hard work time, so he's really getting the job done."

Wilson believes the hefty workload has been important in Schenn's development.

"He's a strong guy and getting better," Wilson said of Schenn, who will participate in all-star weekend next week in Montreal as part of the NHL rookie team. "He's learning little details that you need to at this level that he probably never thought about before.

"He's playing much better than I ever could have anticipated."

NEXT UP

It has nothing to do with the fact that the Leafs aren't ready for prime time, but the Leafs were given the entire day off yesterday following their two-game road trip to the south.

No Hockey Night In Canada for the third time this season. No practice. Just time to think about the one that got away Friday night in Atlanta.

The Leafs will have plenty of time to recover, with just two games in the next nine nights.

Tomorrow, Carolina Hurricanes' coach Paul Maurice makes his first return to the Air Canada Centre since being fired after last season. And Wednesday, the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins are the visitors.

CAN'T STAND PROSPERITY?

Perhaps the feeling was so foreign the Leafs didn't know what to do with it. Prior to Friday's game against Atlanta, the Leafs had been outscored 55-29 in the first period. Even though they had a 4-0 lead going into the second period the previous night, the Leafs clearly didn't know how to deal with the prosperity.

"Sometimes we play better in 1-0 games than when we have 3-0 leads," Leafs defenceman Ian White said. "It's like we take our foot off the gas and are kind of watching the clock tick down."

LOOSE LEAFS

If there is one bright spot for the Leafs over the last struggling stretch it is that Marlies callup Jiri Tlusty has scored four points in his past three games. Tlusty has been on the Leafs' most productive line of late, skating with Dominic Moore and Jason Blake.


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