January 20, 2010
Allowing 'soft goals' tough on Wilson
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
ATLANTA -- Last season, the Maple Leafs ended the season with no 30-goal men, while this year they could have two or three.
But coach Ron Wilson won't be celebrating if his team is minus-40 in goal differential as it is now, not to mention scraping the bottom of the conference standings.
Wilson was reacting to Alexei Ponikarovsky's recent goal roll, three and one assist in the past 48 hours. He has 18 now, approaching his career high of 24, while Niklas Hagman also had a goal for a second game in a row to reach 18 this season after a protracted post-Christmas slump.
"That line (Ponikarovsky, Niklas Hagman and centre Matt Stajan) has scored for us, but we can't have other guys letting us down by giving up goals," Wilson said.
Two nights of blown multi-goal leads here and in Nashville will put a guy into a bad mood like that. Up to this week, the problem was falling behind by a deuce, which they had done 24 times.
"We pretty much carried the game, but gave up soft goals and it killed us," Wilson added. "When the puck comes around the wall (in the Leafs' end), you have to make a play with it, you can't turn it over."