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Babcock: Rare rested practice a time to ‘recommit’ to defence

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TSN Toronto reporter Mark Masters checks in daily with news and notes on the Maple Leafs who practiced at the MasterCard Centre on Monday before flying to Nashville for Tuesday’s game against the Predators.

Due to a jam-packed schedule, Leafs coac​h Mike Babcock hasn't had many chances like the one he had on Monday. Since the all-star break, there's been only three practices following a day off and the other two happened during lengthy road trips. So, this was a valuable coaching moment comi​ng at a crucial time.

"A good opportunity structurally," Babcock said of the fast-paced session. "We got to recommit to being better defensively. We've given up too much on the rush here the last little bit. So, we got to do a better job that way and we understand that as a group."

The Leafs are coming off a brutal week, which saw the team allow 23 goals in four games with almost all the damage at even strength. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored a shorthanded goal during a terrible line change by the Leafs while the Philadelphia Flyers struck with the goalie pulled. There was no special teams work during Toronto's main session Monday. This practice was all about getting to the heart of the matter.

"You want a solution," Babcock said. "I don’t know about you, but I’m way better when I know what the answer is. If I know what the answer is then I can fix it, so we did that here today ... Talked about it, gave the solution and now we have to solve the problem. I don’t think there’s a guy in our room that doesn't trust himself."

"We want hold each other accountable and obviously be better for one another," said centre Auston Matthews. "And the big message today was just commitment on defence and making sure all five guys are communicating and making sure we’re in good spots so we can let our speed and skill show and we’re breaking out easy and getting........