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Panthers Wrap-Up: Maple Leafs 3, Panthers 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 0 1 0 2
Maple Leafs 0 1 2 0 3
FLA - T. Fleischmann (7), S. Matthias (10)
TOR - D. Phaneuf (6), PP - J. Lupul (5), J. Lupul (6)

TORONTO —  A few words of advice to the team scheduled to play the injury-depleted Florida Panthers: Don't take them lightly.

The Panthers, who shocked the New York Rangers last week, were looking to do the same to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, but fell just short despite an inspired effort, losing 3-2..

"We looked like a different team in different sections of the game. You play 25, 30 solid minutes and then have a few issues that we have to take care of...We had a fairly strong finish but not enough to get the job done."

- Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen.
1. Solid First: Looking to rebound after two straight defeats, the Panthers came out strong in the opening 20 minutes keeping the Maple Leafs in their own end for extended periods of play. With the intensity high, Florida buzzed Toronoto's net and goaltender Ben Scrivens to the tune of 16 shots. They were rewarded for their work on a rush play and luck was on their side as Marcel Goc found Tomas Kopecky who in turn fed Tomas Fleischmann. The forward worked his way to the middle and fired a shot that redirected off a Maple Leaf skate and beat Scrivens five-hole 6:39 into the game. Florida had a couple of other great scoring chances but the Toronto goaltender kept the game at 1-0 after one period of play.

2. Tie Off Leafs Blast: After such a strong first period, the Panthers had another strong couple minutes of the second but still couldn't find an answer and a goal on Scrivens. That would be costly as the Leafs took over play in the period and tied it off on a blast by defenseman and captain Dion Phaneuf. Creeping in from the point, the blueliner scored off the pass from Carl Gunnarsson 9:41 in. The Leafs kept the gas on the pedal but Jacob Markstrom was strong in stopping 14 shots but after forty minutes it was a 1-1 game. Florida had a couple of chances to retake the lead as Shawn Matthias rang a shot off the post right after Phaneuf's goal and then later Fleischmann almost scored on a tip-in attempt but was denied by the Toronto goaltender.

3. Quick Strike Lupul: Working on the power play to start the third, the hosts recorded their first lead of the game as Joffrey Lupul scored just 22 seconds into the period. The winger, stationed in front of the net, neatly tipped in Tyler Bozak's pass past Markstrom. Florida would quickly answer as Shawn Matthias threw the puck on net off the rush from just above the goal line that went in on a Leaf 23 seconds later. The tie didn't last long as Lupul struck once again, this time while crashing the net as he was left all alone 3:12 into the period. The Panthers pressed for the equalizer, including pulling Markstrom late but Scrivens stopped 13 shots for his second win against Florida this season.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@TeslaMay: Great effort by the @FlaPanthers but just wasn't meant to be!! At least I had @LauraByTheSea48 to keep me company!

@jacke1ope: did everything right but get the W.

@dsilv_tsd: Good game boys. You all played hard. Unfortunately we couldn't pull out the win, but keep playing hard and the W's will come.

@ChrisBallerano: Cats can't catch a break. Played pretty solid tonight besides those defensive slip ups @FlaPanthers

@2005WhiteSox05: wow #FlaPanthers deserved to win that game! They outplayed the leafs almost the whole game! Other than 5 or 6 minutes in the game

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Michael Willis: GRRRRRR!

Cameron Zein-Eldin: The story of this season... Panthers just "short" of victory.

Jeff Carter: Markstrom was decent tonight and you can't complain about the shots on goal. Very exciting game! Better luck next time. GO CATS!

Roger Engström: Getting tired of the losses

21. Entering the game, three Panthers shared the team lead in points with 20. Those same three (Tomas Fleischmann, Tomas Kopecky and Jonathan Huberdeau) each notched a point with Fleischmann recording a goal and Kopecky and Huberdeau assists to move the team point lead to 21.

22/23. Toronto recorded their first lead of the game just 22 seconds into the third period. It lasted a whole 23 seconds as Matthias answered Joffrey Lupul's first of the contest.

The teams finished an identical 30 hits on the night. Defenseman Tyson Strachan led the way with six while Matthias finished one short of the game high

61. The Panthers had a good day in the face-off circle as they won 61% of their draws (35-of-57). Marcel Goc did the yeoman's work in the face-off circle, taking 25 draws and winning 56% of them while Matthias won 10-of-13 and Jerred Smithson won 6-of-7

It was a big 2:50 (170 seconds) for the Leafs winger as he gave the home team a lead for the first time 22 seconds into the period and then scored the eventual game-winner 3:12 later for his fifth and sixth of the year.

Joffrey Lupul
Had an extremely strong game as evidence by his two goals, including the game-winner 3:12 into the third period and the power play goal to give the Leafs their first lead of the game.

2 Goals, 2 Points, 2 Shots, 3 Hits, 18:39 TOI
Florida finally returns home after finishing up their season-long five-game road trip. It will be a good feeling to be home as they won't leave the state of Florida for the next five games and next two weeks. In the first game of a two-game home stand, they'll take on the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night as the two teams meet for the final time this season. The Panthers have picked up three of a possible four points against the Sabres this season, winning 4-3 in Buffalo and then falling 4-3 in a shootout in Sunrise after Brian Campbell tied it late in the third to force overtime and then the shootout. The Sabres, who fell to Tampa Bay 2-1 on Tuesday night, are led offensively by Thomas Vanek who has 33 points (16 goals) in 29 games while pivot Cody Hodgson has 28 points in 33 games. Ryan Miller holds a 11-13-4 record with a .911 save percentage.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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