After getting steamrolled in Winnipeg the other night, the Florida Panthers were looking to close out their road trip with a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Panthers started the game off strong, throwing everything on goal. Andersen was seeing quite the action in net, facing a ton of shots his way. Unfortunately for the Cats, no matter how many shots they peppered Andersen with, he was there to stop them all.
Florida received an early power play through a too many men call on Toronto, giving the Panthers a glorious opportunity to take the lead. The Panthers created some good scoring chances out of the man advantage, but ultimately failed to cash in.
As the game progressed however, so did the Maple Leafs’ play. The home side started to pick up their play, driving hard into the Panthers’ territory. Like the Cats, the Leafs created some scoring chances of their own, but they were all denied by Luongo in the end.
With 28 seconds left though, Toronto broke the deadlock. Tyler Bozak circled around the net, quickly feeding James van Reimsdyk up high. JVR released an unexpected shot which went through Luongo’s five-hole and in:
JVR’s goal would send the Panthers into the locker room down by a goal after one period of play. Florida dominated throughout stretches of the period, but ran into some trouble in others.
The second period began the same way the first did, with the Cats pouring pressure down deep in the Maple Leafs’ zone. Pucks were continuously thrown at Andersen, but nothing seemed to budge. The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Maple Leafs for the time being.
The Cats did run into some trouble early on when Michael Matheson slashed Auston Matthews, giving the Leafs their first power play of the game. Fortunately though, the PK unit killed off the penalty well, minimizing the amount of chances given to the Maple Leafs.
Both sides had the opportunity of finding the back of the net more than once, but it was both net minders who prevented them from doing so. Florida found it rather difficult to beat the Leafs’ net minder (Frederik Andersen), with the Dane coming up big on every occasion.
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The Leafs received their second man advantage of the game when Nick Bjugstad tripped James van Reimsdyk. Like their first however, the Maple Leafs failed to cash in, running into a pesky Panthers penalty killing unit.
The second period ended like the first, with Toronto heading into the dressing room with their one-goal lead. The Panthers on the other hand needed to find a way to score, and fast!
Florida began the third like they were supposed to, firing on all cylinders and creating havoc in front of goal. The Leafs though, were maintaining the Panthers’ pressure quite well, boxing out the Panthers’ main scoring threats (Barkov, Huberdeau, and Trocheck).
At the four-minute mark in the third, Patrick Marleau committed an interference penalty on Denis Malgin, giving the Panthers a fantastic opportunity at tying this game. Florida did everything right by setting up quickly in the Maple Leafs’ zone, but once again failed to cash in.
The rest of the night played out with the Panthers coming close to scoring, but not close enough to finishing. The Maple Leafs did a superb job of shutting down the Panthers’ top two lines, forcing them to shoot from odd angles of the ice.
Frederik Andersen concluded the game with forty saves, propelling his club to a 1-0 victory over the Cats. The game ultimately came down to a lack of finishing on Florida’s end, as well as the soft JVR goal that Luongo let in.
Overall, the Florida Panthers played well, dominated the majority of the hockey game, but failed to capitalize on their scoring opportunities. Your Panthers are back in action on Thursday, February 22nd @7:30pm against the Washington Capitals!