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Panthers Wrap-Up: Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 3

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 2 0 1 0 3
Maple Leafs 1 2 3 0 6
FLA - N. Bjugstad (12), S. Bergenheim (13), D. Kulikov (6)
TOR - C. Franson (4), M. Raymond (14), PPG - J. van Riemsdyk (22), N. Kulemin (8), PPG - J. Lupul (16), T. Bozak (10)

TORONTO —  ( - James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul each had a goal and an assist and Nazem Kadri set up three goals to rally the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-3 victory against the Florida Panthers at Air Canada Center on Thursday night.

Toronto trailed 2-0 after goals by Nick Bjugstad and Sean Bergenheim in the game's first 13:50. Kadri and van Riemsdyk assisted on Cody Franson's goal at 16:49 that cut the deficit to 2-1 before the Leafs went ahead to stay thanks to a fast start in the second period.

"You're looking for that sixty minute game. You're looking to be resilient and when you have a good start like that in the first period, the first minute of the period, last minutes of the periods, right after goals, you really have to bear down in that situation. For them to score two goals really put some of the guys back on their heals."

- Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek.
1. Great Start: After being outplayed in Boston, the Panthers looked to have a much better start in Toronto and they accomplished that. The Cats held a 2-0 lead 14 minutes into the game thanks to forwards Nick Bjugstad and Sean Bergenheim. Both players scored on two great shots with the young gun Bjugstad scoring after getting behind the Leafs defense 1:39 into the game to kick it off. Brad Boyes found Bergenheim in the slot after Scott Gomez forced a turnover and the Cats seemed to have the game in control.

2. Toronto From There: The Cats had the Toronto crowd out of it, even causing some boos to rain down on the home team but the Leafs got some life 3:19 after Bergenheim's goal. There, Cody Franson scored on a seeing eye shot past a crowd in front of Scott Clemmensen. They then went from down a goal to up a goal less than a minute into the second. A far side snipe on the rush by Mason Raymond and then a redirect goal by James van Riemsdyk on the power play had the crowd back in it as they took a 3-2 lead just 58 seconds into the second. More than a period went by before Nikolai Kulemin scored on an absolute rocket and then Joffrey Lupul scored on a power play 2:22 later.

3. With Their Chances: Whether the Cats were up a goal or trailing a goal, they certainly had their chances against the Maple Leafs and Jonathan Bernier. Gomez had a laser blocked by Tim Gleason in the second while Sean Bergenheim was denied on a wraparound attempt. Trailing by two in the third Ed Jovanovski had a great shorthanded break but just went wide and Jonathan Huberdeau had a couple of open nets that saw the puck just go wide. Boyes and Bjugstad had nine shots between them as the Cats threw 38 shots on Bernier but only Kulikov's point shot was able to beat the netminder after the first period goals.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@shaekoho: why u gotta go and lose @FlaPanthers

@Winklahh_: I hate you..... But I love you so much. :( @FlaPanthers

@sonbeek: @FlaPanthers still love you

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Tyler Boross: This season may not go the way we want but the time that the young guys are getting is great. This offseason is gonna be long , but worth it.

Danielle Ruby: Went from a 2-0 lead to a 6-3 loss...come on Cats, we can do better than that.

Allan Baldwin: Congrats, Leafs. See y'all Tuesday. Let's go, Cats.

4. Scoring Florida's third goal of the game, defenseman Dmitry Kulikov four of his six goals in the last seven games including goals in back-to-back games.

5. Giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead with his 13th of the season, forward Sean Bergenheim stretched his point streak to five games (3-2-5), tied for the longest of his NHL career. Bergenheim recorded a five-game point streak once in the regular season (3/27-4/6/10 with NY Islanders) and once in the playoffs.

7. Nick Bjugstad got the Panthers on the board with his 12th of the season. It was his seventh point (4-3-7) in his last 10 games.

31. Toronto scored twice in a 31 second span early in the second period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead as Mason Raymond and James van Riemsdyk scored.

250. Setting up Bergenheim in the first period, forward Brad Boyes collected the 250th assist of his NHL career.

Jonathan Bernier
Was fantastic after allowing two early goals to the Panthers as he stopped 30 straight shots before Kulikov's third period tally. Made numerous some point-blank saves.

38 Shots, 35 Saves, .921 SV%
Florida closes out their four-game road trip in Columbus on Saturday. New to the Eastern Conference, this is the first of three meetings between the two teams this season. The Blue Jackets who reside in the Metropolitan took a 5-2 victory over Washington on Thursday night, are tied for third in the division with 58 points (27-23-4). They're led by forwards Ryan Johansen (40 points in 54 games) and Brandon Dubinsky (36 points in 48 games). Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky has a 18-13-2 record with 2.59 GAA and .914 save percentage.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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