Maple Leafs need to tighten up defensively

James Reimer manages a smile as he skates to his net to begin Friday's practice at the MasterCard...

James Reimer manages a smile as he skates to his net to begin Friday's practice at the MasterCard Centre. Reimer suffered a blow to the head the night before. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:23 PM ET

His goaltending apparently back in proper alignment following James Reimer’s head scare on Thursday night, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle has turned his attention to the next obstacle on his team’s schedule.

Considering Carlyle has discussed several times in the past few days the importance of tightening up defensively, he shuddered to think what could happen if the Leafs don’t buckle down against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City on Saturday night.

“If we don’t play to a higher level, I’m sure the score will be a lot more lopsided in Chicago’s favour than in our favour,” Carlyle said after the Leafs practised at the MasterCard Centre during the noon hour on Friday.

“We are a hockey club that is still trying to find its game. We know we are playing the Stanley Cup champions, so we’d better beware.”

There was a clear sense of relief in the dressing room and on the ice when Reimer participated in practice.


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