PHILADELPHIA — Regrets, Randy Carlyle has at least one.
As the Toronto Maple Leafs looked to start putting Saturday night’s disappointing 3-2 loss to Ottawa in the rear-view mirror, the coach accepted blame for failing to call a timeout moments before Colin Greening scored the winner at 19:36 of the third period.
“We talked about the deficiencies in last night’s game and some of the things we could have done better — the coaching staff included,” Carlyle said Sunday after practice. “I think I’ve got to bear responsibility, I should have called a timeout with 28 seconds left for the faceoff. Those are the things that you have to do.
“I made that mistake or we as a coaching staff made that mistake, so we have to learn from that.”
Greening’s winner came directly after a faceoff in the Leafs’ zone. The Senators winger got past defencemen Carl Gunnarsson and Mike Kostka before knocking a rebound behind goalie Ben Scrivens.
Curiously, the play came with No. 1 defenceman Dion Phaneuf and centre Tyler Bozak, the team’s best faceoff man, on the bench. Had Carlyle called the timeout, he could have given both players some rest and kept them out there for another shift.
“It would have settled everything down and put a little bit of a plan in,” said Carlyle. “(The timeout) is only 30 seconds, but it usually gives you an opportunity to rest your people, maybe some of them just got off the ice because Dion just did. We would have maybe had a different centremen or second centre. …
“I thought about (the timeout), but I didn’t commit to it,” Carlyle added. “Those are your gut feelings and I should have done it.”
As a result, the Leafs squandered at least one point in the standings. They’ll look to rebound Monday night in Philadelphia and began working towards that goal with a Sunday afternoon practice at Penn University’s quaint Class of 1923 Arena.
Among those on the ice were winger Matt Frattin and goalie James Reimer, who are both recovering from minor knee injuries.
Reimer has skated the past several days and occupied one net throughout Sunday’s practice, which suggests his return could be imminent. Carlyle called him “very close” while the 24-year-old goaltender played coy when asked if he might return to action against the Flyers.
“I don’t know if I should say anything,” said Reimer.
“I’m just getting better every day,” he added. “It’s definitely heading in the right direction.”
Frattin, who has seven goals in 10 games this season, still hasn’t been cleared for contact. He is waiting for the swelling in his knee to go down after having surgery last week.
The Leafs players seemed to be in fairly good spirits on Sunday despite the loss in Ottawa.
“You can’t change what happened last night,” said Carlyle. “It’s always traumatic, it’s like a scar gets left when you do something like what happened to us last night as a hockey club. We want to remove that scar.
“The only way you can do that is just focus on what you’ve got coming and look back and try to move forward in a positive manner.”