Panthers rally to defeat Maple Leafs in OT, win 13th straight

SUNRISE, Fla. — Brandon Montur scored at 2:26 of overtime to help the Florida Panthers set their record with a 13th consecutive victory, 3-2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at FLA Live Arena on Saturday.

Montour tipped in a pass from Mason Marching at the top of the crease on the rush.

“It has been incredible,” Montour said. “The guys we have in that locker room are all great people. Off the ice, we have a blast. We come to the rink every day and have fun. There’s one heck of a hockey team in there. We take it each shift, each game. It is showing this year. It has been good.”

Florida had a 12-game winning streak from Dec. 15, 2015, to Jan. 10, 2016.

claude-giroux had a goal and two assists, and Alexander Barkov had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (57-15-6), who have clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sergei Bobrovsky made 34 saves and extended his Florida record with his 39th victory of the season.

“It doesn’t matter who we play, we want to keep getting better as a team and keep building on what we’re doing,” Giroux said. “We had no business winning that game if [Bobrovsky] doesn’t make the saves he made. He looked solid and really shut the door for us.”

Video: TOR@FLA: Montour directs a pass into net for OT win

Mitchell Marner and justin holl scored, and Jack Campbell made 32 saves for the Maple Leafs (51-21-7), who lost their second straight and had their lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning for a second in the Atlantic Division cut to five points. Tampa Bay defeated the Nashville Predators 6-2 on Saturday.

Austin Matthewswho leads the NHL with 58 goals, had seven shots on goal and played 21:40 for the Maple Leafs after missing three games with an undisclosed injury.

“It didn’t go too bad,” Matthews said. “We created a lot of chances, but the bounces didn’t go our way. I thought we did a lot of good things. Definitely would have liked to see us get that extra point.”

Toronto, coming off an 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday, took a 2-0 lead while outshooting Florida 13-8 in the first period.

Marner gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead at 3:25 with a slap shot from the right face-off circle off TJ Brodie‘s dump-in that bounced off the end boards.

Holl made it 2-0 at 17:20 when his pass from the top of the right circle hit the stick of Bobrovsky and went in off the skate of Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas.

“I thought our guys played hard tonight,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We easily could have won the game. I thought we won the first and third period. Against this team, you’ve got to score more than two. That’s what they’ve been doing all season, they find ways to win.”

Barkov cut it to 2-1 at 6:26 of the second period on a rebound after Marchment split two Toronto defenders and drove to the net.

Video: TOR@FLA: Barkov buries a rebound from the slot

Giroux tied it 2-2 at 14:54 with a slap shot on the power play. Jonathan Huberdeau had an assist on the goal for his 114th point, two behind NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid. Huberdeau has 30 goals and 84 assists.

“It was a hard game, but it had good pace,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. “We haven’t seen a team like this for the last little bit. It was good to grind one out a little bit, fall behind and have to come back again. We don’t want to continuously do that, but we weren’ t at our best today. [the Maple Leafs] credit, they played the right way. They played fast, played harder than we did. We just found a way to get back into the game.”

NOTES: Toronto forward Michael Bunting left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Keefe said Bunting would “miss some time for sure.” … Florida set an NHL record with its 13th overtime goal of the season. The 2017-18 Pittsburgh Penguins, 2015-16 and 2016-17 Los Angeles Kings, and 2006-07 Vancouver Canucks each scored 12. … With his 39th goal of the season, Barkov tied Olli Jokinen (2006-07) for the third most in a season for the Panthers. Pavel Bure scored 59 in 2000-01 and 58 in 1999-2000. … Florida’s last loss was 5-2 at Toronto on March 27. … Bobrovsky is 39-6-3 this season.


Leave a Comment