SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Nick Bjugstad had two goals and an assist to lift the Florida Panthers to a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
Brad Boyes and Brandon Pirri also scored for the Panthers. Roberto Luongo, who returned after missing Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury, made 27 saves.
Paul Ranger and Tyler Bozak scored for the Maple Leafs, and Drew MacIntyre stopped 33 shots. The 30-year-old MacIntyre made his first career NHL start and second appearance for Toronto this season.
The Panthers won for just the third time in 12 games. The Maple Leafs have lost six straight road games in regulation and are 2-11-0 in their last 13 games.
Bjugstad’s goals came less than three minutes apart in the third for his first two-goal and three-point game of his career.
Leading 2-1,the Panthers stretched their lead on a wraparound goal by Bjugstad, who came from behind the net and stuffed it past MacIntyre at 3:23 of the third. It was the first goal for Bjugstad in 21 games.
Bjugstad’s second goal made the score 4-1. His short-handed shot from in front off a pass from Tomas Fleischmann easily got by MacIntyre at 6:02.
Ranger’s shot from the point made the score 4-2 with 6:03 left.
Boyes broke a 1-1 tie with 3 seconds left in the second. Bjugstad brought the puck from behind the net and passed in front of the crease to Boyes on the right side. He tapped the puck past MacIntyre.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on Pirri’s goal 6:06 in. Pirri fired a shot from the top of the left circle and it hit the top right of the net. Pirri has points in five of the past six games.
The Maple Leafs tied it 1-all on the goal by Bozak. Jake Gardiner dropped a pass to Bozak in the left, who wristed to past Luongo on the glove side for his 19th goal of the season, a career-high.
NOTES: Pirri celebrated his 23rd birthday on Thursday. … MacIntyre has played for over nine different minor league teams over a 10-year career.
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