Toronto at Florida

Panthers 5, Maple Leafs 3


SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers' scoring difficulties ended at the right time.

Coming into Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Panthers had not scored more than three goals since Dec. 5, a span of nine games, including an 8-0 loss in their last game against Boston.

However, the Panthers broke out of their drought as Kris Versteeg and Jason Garrison scored power play goals for the Panthers in a 5-3 win over the Maple Leafs.

"That's what we were really looking for," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "They're a really good hockey team. We're so respectful of the talent and that's not just blabber after the game. We really were worried about the speed and the skill that they have and sometimes the best defense is a good offense."

Erik Gundbranson, Bill Thomas, and Tomas Fleischmann also scored for the Panthers, and Brian Campbell had three assists.

"Right now with so many guys out, we may have to win games 1-0, 2-1, obviously it's nice to get a few," Campbell said.

Jose Theodore stopped 29 of 32 shots for the Panthers, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Mikhail Grabovski scored two goals to lead for the Leafs. Dion Phaneuf also scored.

Florida was 2 for 3 on the power play. Toronto was 1 for 4.

The Maple Leafs trailed 4-2 in the third when Grabovski and Jake Gardiner hit the post on consecutive long shots.

Grabovski did score when a shot by Clarke MacArthur deflected off his left skate while falling backwards in front of the net. The goal at 9:17 was reviewed and upheld, and cut the lead to 4-3.

Fleischmann gave the Panthers a 5-3 lead as he sneaked a puck past Jonas Gustavsson from the right wing and the Panthers held on for the final eight minutes.

"He scores big goals for us, that's what big-time players do," Campbell said.

Florida, coming off an 8-0 loss to Boston on Dec. 23, struck in the opening period on their first shot on goal.

Tim Kennedy dug the puck off the side boards away from Joffrey Lupul and passed it back to Gudbranson, who rocketed a slap shot from the blue line past James Reimer' glove side for a 1-0 lead. It was the second goal of the season for the 19-year old rookie defenseman.

The Leafs outshot the Panthers 11-4 in the first and were finally able to score in the second. Grabovski converted after nifty passes from Cody Franson and Nikolai Kulemin.

Nineteen seconds later, the Panthers responded as Thomas got ahead of the pack and scored on a breakaway as the puck slid off his stick beating Reimer.

"You can't do much about the guy who missed his shot," Reimer said. "It was a kind of a fluky goal."

Reimer's night ended after the Panthers extended their lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal by Garrison.

Reimer stopped five of eight shots before being replaced by Gustavsson, who didn't fare much better as Versteeg scored a 5 on 3-power play goal three minutes into his turn in net.

The Panthers' second-period scoring barrage, which included three goals in less than five minutes, gave them a 4-1 lead.

"It was 1-to-1 and we were controlling the game," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "They scored early but didn't have a sniff after that and from 1-to-1 we should've been able to springboard off of that and we immediately gave them the lead right back."


Prior to the game, the Maple Leafs placed D John-Michael Liles on injured reserve due to concussion-like symptoms stemming from a hit by Buffalo's Paul Gastad on Dec. 22.. Maple Leafs F Joffrey Lupul has recorded a point in nine of his last 10 games.. Panthers F Stephen Weiss (upper body injury) missed his second consecutive game.. Panthers top prospect Jonathan Huberdeau, the third overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, had a goal and four assists for Canada in an 8-1 win over Finland at the world junior hockey championship Monday. ... Former NFL and Florida Gators star Jevon Kearse was in attendance.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Toronto (18-14-4)0213
Florida  (19-11-7) «1315
Three Stars
M. Repik

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
M. Grabovski

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
B. Campbell

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3

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Scoring Summary
01:57 - Erik Gudbranson (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Kennedy
02:11 - Mikhail Grabovski (9), Wrist Shot. Assist: Franson, Kulemin
02:30 - Bill Thomas (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Dadonov, Cullen
04:13Power Play - Jason Garrison (11), Slap Shot. Assist: Campbell, Repik
06:55Power Play - Kris Versteeg (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Campbell, Kopecky
09:34 - Dion Phaneuf (5), Snap Shot. Assist: Kessel, Lupul
09:17Power Play - Mikhail Grabovski (10), Tip-In. Assist: MacArthur, Franson
11:44 - Tomas Fleischmann (13), Snap Shot. Assist: Bradley, Campbell
Penalty Summary
14:35Garrison, 2 min, Hooking
03:17Aulie, 2 min, Cross-Checking
05:14Grabovski, 2 min, Slashing
05:54MacArthur, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
02:41Campbell, 2 min, Holding
08:03Fleischmann, 2 min, Hooking
12:30Cullen, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
Shots On Goal
Other Games
Cal 2 Final
Colu 1
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Pitt 4
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Ott 2
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Colo 1