Florida Panthers Post-Game Recap: Game # 65 vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs:
Florida would take on the Maple Leafs in what would be their last game on this road stretch, and the 2nd night of a back-to-back. Sergei Bobrovsky played a long and hard game last night in the victory against the Senators, so the Panthers would turn to Spencer Knight in net. Toronto would also be on their 2nd night of a back-to-back, coming in off a loss against the Montreal Canadiens. The Leafs would elect to go with Petr Mrazek in goal.
The first period started out disastrous for the Cats. Morgan Reilly would bury the very first chance Toronto would get less than a minute into the game to give the Leafs the early 1–0 lead. The game would begin to settle down from that point onward, until about halfway through the first period when Florida’s Brandon Montour would get the Cats on the board. Huberdeau would get his 69th assist of the season on that goal, bringing him within one assist of tying the all-time NHL record for assists by a Left Wing Forward. There would be some chances both ways, however no further damage this period. Both teams would head into the first intermission tied 1–1.
Florida came out in the second period with a much better effort than in the first, and Ryan Lomberg would be rewarded after some great work along the boards by the Panthers fourth-line. Lomberg’s goal would be just over a minute into the second period, and would give the Cats a 2–1 lead in the game. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the second period would start to fall apart from that moment on. A few minutes after Lomberg’s goal, Florida would take a penalty to give Toronto a Power Play. Toronto had the best Power Play percentage in the league coming into tonight, and they made sure the Panthers knew it. John Tavares would score his 21st goal of the year to bring Toronto back into a tie with the Panthers 2–2. The Leafs would not be done with Power Play goals in that 2nd period, as Tavares would score his 2nd PPG of the game a little over five minutes later to give Toronto the 3–2 lead. That goal would eventually be the game-winning goal, but in any case the teams would head into the second intermission with Toronto ahead 3–2.
Give Florida credit because they came out in the third period desperate to get the game tied up. Their efforts would be all for naught however, as Toronto would capitalize on Florida’s aggressiveness by scoring on a 2-on-1 break against Knight to go ahead 4–2. The goal would be scored just under 10 minutes into the period. Florida would pull Spencer Knight for the extra attacker with about four minutes remaining in the game, and were getting some solid chances against Mrazek. Mrazek held his own, and the Leafs were able to get another tally as Auston Matthews would score his 48th goal of the year into the empty Florida net with less than 0.5 seconds remaining. Matthews had been shut down for the entire game until that point. Toronto would take this first meeting between the two teams with a final score of 5–2.
The Panthers will finally come back home to FLA Live Arena after a lengthy, and difficult road trip. They will face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night, and they hope to have rookie sensation Anton Lundell back in the lineup coming back from injury/illness. That game will begin at 7PM ET.
- 1–0 (TOR): Morgan Reilly (7) at 0:49, assisted by TJ Brodie (17) and Auston Matthew (35)
- 1–1 (FLA): Brandon Montour (8) at 10:11, assisted by Sam Bennett (13) and Jonathan Huberdeau (69)
- 2–1 (FLA): Ryan Lomberg (6) at 1:27, assisted by Eetu Luostarinen 11)
- 2–2 (TOR): John Tavares (21)(PPG) at 5:10, assisted by Mitch Marner (45) and Morgan Reilly (44)
- 3–2 (TOR): John Tavares (22)(PPG) at 11:12, assisted by Mitch Marner (46) and Morgan Reilly (45)
- 4–2 (TOR): Ilya Mikheyev (14) at 9:12, assisted by Mitch Marner (47) and Justin Holl (13)
- 5–2 (TOR): Auston Matthews (48)(ENG) at 19:59, unassisted