TORONTO - By Monday morning - hours after an increasingly perilous skid hit five - more than a few members of the wobbling Maple Leafs were on the third floor of the Air Canada Centre, playing some basketball on the practice court of the neighbouring Toronto Raptors. Biff Pocoroba Jersey Braves . "I think some guys just wanted to go shoot some hoops and loosen up," said captain Dion Phaneuf on a rest day for most of his teammates. The Leafs are doing what they can to loosen up and shake the ills of a losing streak that has them tumbling closer and closer to another late season collapse and early spring exit. In fine position as recently as two weeks ago - second in the Atlantic following a statement win in L.A. - they are now simply clinging to the final wild card position in the East with a grueling test against St. Louis ahead on Tuesday night. "No ones happy with whats gone on," said Phaneuf, "but its reality. We have got to come [Tuesday] prepared and ready to go." Just as the highs of a win streak are exaggerated so too are the lows of a losing slide. Toronto has lost five straight, all close games and all with a series of consistent and untimely trends. First has been the sluggish starts and inability to score the games first goal. The Leafs have a .714 winning percentage this season when they score first, a .289 mark when they dont. Theyve given up that valued first goal in seven straight games, falling behind by two or more in five of the seven (six losses). And while theyve improbably rallied to tie or pull within one in each of the five losses - even leading briefly against Tampa - the uphill climb has ultimately proven too steep to overcome. "The one issue for us, more than anything, is that we seem to have been putting ourselves in the position of clawing back into games," head coach Randy Carlyle observed. "And you wont have success if you continually have to do that." "Weve played from behind too often," Phaneuf concurred. "When we have been coming from behind thats when weve been attacking more than from the start. When you do get down you play with more desperation. We have to find a way to play with that desperation right from the get-go." Not helping matters, though certainly not the singular point of blame, has been the goaltending. His confidence simply sunk at this point, James Reimer has not provided anywhere near the top-tier caliber of goaltending that Jonathan Bernier delivered before his injury, the kind of elite nightly theatrics the defensively-inept Leafs require to win. Consider Berniers 8-2-2 record and .947 save percentage this season when facing 40 shots as reminders of that ability to perform under heavy strain. Reimer, meanwhile, has a disastrous .871 save percentage in five starts in place of Bernier. Nursing the first groin injury of his career, Bernier was on the ice again Monday afternoon, but wasnt sure if hed be available to return against the Blues. "It hurts to see your team lose," he said, "but at the same time its one of those injuries [where] youve got to take time. Dont want to rush and then youre out for another four or five games after." Bernier said his readiness would be determined by the teams medical staff, but said hed know for himself when he was able to make "a split save or that I can make that stretch save and not think about it I guess." Update: Bernier was the projected starter on Tuesday morning. Without him, Carlyle would be faced with difficult question in goal for a tough tilt against the best team in the West. Start Reimer for the sixth consecutive game despite his struggles or hand the net to Drew MacIntyre, the 30-year-old who has yet to start an NHL game. While perhaps difficult to envision Carlyle turning back to Reimer yet again, consider that under similarly challenging circumstance - two sets of back-to-backs in the past week - he went with the struggling former no. 1 each and every time. The tried and tested product, however unstable at the moment, may be more appealing than the unknown. Reimer was pulled for MacIntyre in the teams fifth straight loss on Sunday night. "What happened last game, surely you take that into consideration, but the most important thing is that the individual we choose to represent us at that position tomorrow night we feel confident he can get the job done," said Carlyle. Beyond goaltending are the series of game-changing mistakes and breakdowns that have often left Reimer on an island all his own, left to sink or swim in an unforgiving crease. Bernier bailed out those mistakes more often than not. Reimer has not. There was Troy Brouwer left all by his lonesome in the slot during the first loss in Washington. There were two Gustav Nyquist breakaway goals in Detroit. It was three times open for Steven Stamkos in Toronto. There was the Phil Kessel neutral zone giveaway which sprung Max Pacioretty against Montreal, a Rene Bourque breakaway coming shortly after. And most recently, a bad line change and pinch that sparked an odd-man rush goal from Damien Brunner and then later another breakaway, this time from Patrik Elias. "What we have to do is we have to limit our mistakes," said Carlyle. "Were making too many of them that are costing us in the hockey games." Additionally, the Leafs have been unable to find much offence beyond their top line. Without the likes of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak scoring two or three a night, theyve simply not produced enough to overshadow other faults as was often the case in victories earlier this season. "Theres still lots of hockey to be played," Phaneuf said. "Theres lots of points that are available for us. We obviously are not happy about what has happened, but whats happened has happened. Theres no going back to yesterday or three days ago or a week ago. Right now our focus is on St. Louis and coming out and playing the way that we can. "Weve slid far enough. Weve got to grab some traction here and regroup with a big win." Bob Uecker Jersey Braves . For the Athletics, hes extremely important at the top of the order, especially with Coco Crisp hurting. Jaso drove in three runs Sunday night, helping Scott Kazmir and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 9-3. Peter Moylan Jersey Braves . Chris Heisey connected for his first grand slam and Devin Mesoraco homered and drove in a career high-tying four runs as Cincinnati took advantage of Tampa Bays depleted pitching staff for a 12-4 victory on Sunday. VICTORIA -- Brittany MacLean of Toronto smashed the second longest-standing national womens record with her victory in the 800-metre freestyle on the last night of competition at the Canadian swimming trials on Saturday. MacLean clocked 8:24.91 seconds, eclipsing the previous mark of 8:27.59 set by Brittany Reimer of Victoria at the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal. MacLean and Tabitha Baumann of Ottawa -- second in 8:32.37 -- both went under the qualifying standard to be nominated to the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific teams. "Ive done a lot of racing this year and I wasnt sure how much my body would hold up," said MacLean, 20, a triple champion this week. "Im glad it did. To get the record is a huge accomplishment." Two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane of Victoria collected a third gold as well, winning the mens 1,500 freestyle -- his main event -- in 15:01.72, well under the qualifying standard. "I wanted to come here and put up a fast time," said Cochrane. "Its not where I want to be yet." Cochrane, who is one of 36 who will represent Canada at the Pan Pacifics in Australia in August, and one of 30 nominated to swim for Canada at Commonwealth Games in Scotland in July, says he wont settle for less than gold this summer. "Im looking forward to the Commonwealth Games because it was a dream of mine to compete at those Games since I was five," he said. "The Pan Pacs is a big event for the swimmers and the competition will be tough." In addition to 19 swimmers with national team experience, 18 newcomers will be representing Canada at the senior level for the first time thhis summer. Mike Foltynewicz Jersey Braves . The Pan Pacs team features 21 female swimmers and 15 males, while 20 females and 10 males are nominated to the Commonwealth Games. Three Canadian women went under the qualifying standard in the 200 individual medley. Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson of Ottawa completed a golden individual medley sweep clocking a personal best 2:12.26, Marni Oldershaw of Oakville, Ont., followed in 2:13.72 and Sydney Pickrem of Halifax was third in 2:13.78. "Im pretty pumped," said 18-year-old Seltenreich-Hodgson. "To get two titles this week is really exciting. To have three girls go under the standard is something. We are an IM country." Evan White of Oakville just missed notching a Canadian record in the mens 200 IM but still went under the qualifying standard with a personal best 1:59.84. The 18-year-old was 0.3 seconds under the Canadian record before heading into the final freestyle length. "I was trying to break the record and I could hear the crowd," White said. "It was a good swim." Katerine Savard won the womens 200 fly in 2:07.61, while Audrey Lacroix followed in 2:08.84. Both Pont-Rouge, Que., racers went under the qualifying standard as they did in the 100 butterfly on Friday, which featured a national record for Savard. "I dont really believe I did that time," said the 20-year-old Savard. "Its really good for me." Victoria Poon of Montreal was first in the 50 freestyle for her second win of the competition. Yuri Kisil took the mens 50 freestyle in a personal best 22.53 for his second title this week, and Zack Chetrat of Oakville, won the mens 200 butterfly. ' ' '