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Maple Leafs edge Panther 6-3 to extend home winning streak to five games

Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 10:05 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Maple Leafs edge Panther 6-3 to extend home winning streak to five games

TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs matched a season-high on Thursday, capturing their fifth straight victory at Air Canada Centre with a 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers.

Nazem Kadri had three assists, including his 100th career point, and James van Riemsdyk reached a new single-season best with his 22nd goal of the season.

Toronto (28-21-6) erased an early 2-0 deficit on goals by Cody Franson and Mason Raymond. Joffrey Lupul, Nikolai Kulemin and Tyler Bozak scored the other Leafs goals in the third.

Florida (21-25-7) got first period goals from Nick Bjugstad and Sean Bergenheim. Dmitry Kulikov had the other Panthers goal.

Scott Clemmensen made 26 saves for his fifth loss of the season. Jonathan Bernier made 35 saves in the win.

Toronto won five in a row on home ice from Oct. 22 to Nov. 19. The Leafs have just two regulation losses in their past 11 games.

Florida scored twice on their first seven shots of the game to open a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Bjugstad opened the scoring 1:39 into the first, beating Bernier with a backhand blocker side for his 12th goal of the season.

Bergenheim finished off a 2-on-1 feed from Brad Boyes at 13:50 to give the Panthers a two-goal lead. The assist was the 250th of Boyes' career.

It was all Toronto after that as the Leafs scored five unanswered goals.

Franson cut Flordia's lead in half at 16:49 of the first period, beating a screened Clemmensen, and the Leafs scored twice in the first minute of the second period to take a 3-2 lead.

Raymond scored off the rush, with a wrist shot, glove-side on Clemmensen 27 seconds into the second period for his 14th of the season. Van Riemsdyk tipped a Phil Kessel shot past Clemmensen at 57 seconds of the second period, on a power play.

With the goal, van Riemsdyk surpassed his previous single-season goals total of 21 set during the 2010-11 season while he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Kulemin picked up the insurance marker at 4:00 of the third period, one-timing a Kadri feed, and two minutes later, Kadri set up Lupul for his 16th of the season.

Bozak finished off a 2-on-1 feed from Kessel at 18:37 of the third.

Toronto concludes its three-game home stand Saturday when they host the Ottawa Senators.

Notes: Leafs coach Randy Carlyle expects David Clarkson (elbow) to return during the team's two-game road trip in Florida. … Toronto forward David Bolland (ankle) is 50-50 to return to the lineup prior to the Olympic break according to Carlyle. … Florida forward Shawn Matthias (illness) returned to the lineup Thursday.

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I kept refreshing the page on the NHL website after the second round and I was shocked he lasted that long. I'm sure the Coyotes were pretty happy to get him. He's such a good player and he plays big in big games.

— Arizona Coyotes forward Henrik Samuelsson on prospect Edgars Kulda being draftedd