Panthers Snap Three Game Losing Streak, Beat Leafs 5-3
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SUNRISE (AP) — Kris Versteeg and Jason Garrison scored power play goals to help the Florida Panthers to a 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
Erik Gundbranson, Bill Thomas, and Tomas Fleischmann also scored for the Panthers, and Brian Campbell had three assists. 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.
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 Jeffrey Lopul 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. 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 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.
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