NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Florida
(Thursday, March 19th)
Final Score: Florida 3, Toronto 1
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Stephen Weiss had a goal and an assist to help the Florida Panthers snap an ill-timed four-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at BankAtlantic Center.
Ville Peltonen and Richard Zednik each had a goal while Tomas Vokoun made 37 saves in the win for the Panthers, who won all four games against Toronto in the series this season.
The win gives Florida 80 points on the season and the team is now just one point back of Montreal and Carolina, which sits in the seventh and eighth spots, respectively, for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida has 11 games left in the regular season.
Mikhail Grabovski scored the lone goal while Martin Gerber made 39 saves in the loss for the Maple Leafs, who had won three of four coming into the game.
Skating shorthanded, Florida took a 1-0 lead on a nice individual effort from Weiss. Holding the puck, Weiss deked out a defender when he crossed the blueline, causing the defender to fall and skated in on net, lifting a backhander into the top of the net at the 7:15 mark of the first.
However, Toronto tied the game late in the first with a power-play goal. Several shots on net finally yielded a score as Jamal Mayers sent a pass from the deep left boards to the front where Grabovski one-timed it past Vokoun with 1:52 left in the frame.
Florida scored twice in a span of 1:27 in the second period to take the lead.
The first goal came at the 6:21 mark of the frame when David Booth sent a pass from the right side to the left for a trailing Zednik, who wristed the puck past Gerber as a Toronto defender was colliding with the goaltender.
A bit later, the Panthers made it a 3-1 game when Radek Dvorak sent a pass from the high slot to the low left side for Peltonen, who stickhandled past a stickless defender and swept the puck into the net.
Vokoun stopped all seven shots he saw in the second period.
Toronto got its offense back on track in the third period and had 15 shots on net but was unable to get any past Vokoun despite a golden opportunity towards the end when Florida was called for too many men on the ice.
The Maple Leafs pulled Gerber for a two-man advantage, but Vokoun came up with the stops and the defense made held up for the win.
Florida hosts Columbus on Saturday...Toronto plays in Montreal on Saturday...Florida has not lost five consecutive games since an 0-5-1 skid from October 25-November 8 earlier in the season...Toronto went 1-for-4 on the power play while Florida failed to score on either of its two chances.
03/19 22:22:41 ET