The Leafs practiced Monday in preparation for Tuesday’s game against Carolina. There was lots of work done on the penalty killing as the Leafs have allowed six shorthanded goals in the last two games.
When he was asked about the penalty killing, head coach Ron Wilson discussed what he and his coaches are trying to instill in their players.
“Pressure, where our sticks are, it’s hard to work on shot blocking during practice for obvious reasons but constantly harping about being in shooting lanes,” he said.
One area that has hurt the Leafs during penalty kills is not being able to relieve the pressure.
“We need better clears in situations when we don’t get the puck down ice after winning a battle for it and just the theories behind what we are talking about where guys should be and making it a habit,” Wilson noted.
In his rookie season Jake Gardiner gets better with the more ice-time he gets. He is playing all situations and Wilson believes the sky is the limit for the young blueliner.
“I think he is one of those kids that is never going to get tired,” Wilson said. “I haven’t even seen him have an off-day even in practice, he is out there flying and skating around and he will only keep on getting better with more experience.”
Before his daily media briefing was over, Wilson updated the status of Mike Komisarek and Matthew Lombardi who both skated prior to the start of practice on Monday.
“At least a couple of weeks I would think,” Wilson said.
He didn’t give a definite timetable of when to expect them in the lineup.
“Both of them probably after Christmas,” he said. “We just have to be patient and let time take care of their injuries.