Toronto Maple Leafs lose to Florida Panthers 5-3

Ross Houston
February 4, 2020

The goalie took the brunt of a first-period collision with Florida forward Frank Vatrano.

Auston Matthews, William Nylander and John Tavares scored for Toronto, which had won three in a row. "I don't know if we give up more than four scoring opportunities to match the hockey game". A lot of the narrative [around our team] is how we can't defend.

Pysyk put Florida ahead 1-0 at 11:30 of the first period after Mike Matheson skated down the right wing and sent him a backhand pass for a one-timer. Before the game with Florida, the team was third in the Atlantic and six points behind second-place Tampa Bay - and just two points ahead of the Panthers who are now on the outside of the playoff picture. As head coach Sheldon Keefe said, this was a game they played well enough to get out. He has a 19-13-4 record, 3.26 GAA, and.897 save percentage in 38 games this season. "There's a lot of things to like about what we did today".

Two points in a win and the Leafs go up four points on the Panthers and keep hold of a playoff spot.

The Leafs will also face the three teams now sitting 1-2-3 in the Atlantic - Boston, Tampa Bay and Florida - a combined six more times and the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes, who stand in the team's way for the wild card, once each.

With Andersen's availability now suddenly in question, Keefe was non-committal about his level of confidence in Hutchinson starting a string of games, saying, "I'm not going to answer that tonight". And while Keefe liked much of what he saw from the Leafs on Monday, their chances of getting back in the playoff hunt could hinge on how quickly Andersen returns. "I was a little nervous".

The Panthers were without Aleksander Barkov, who was sidelined by a lower-body injury. But Pysyk and Huberdeau scored 58 seconds apart, tying it at 3 at 3:18.

Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's 2-1 overtime win against Ottawa with an illness, while winger Kasperi Kapanen was also back following a one-game banishment to the press box for being late to Friday's practice.

Matthews hit the post on another Leafs power play with Bobrovsky at his mercy before the Florida goalie also blocked a follow-up one-timer from the star centre to set the table for Hoffman's victor.

Tavares tied it 1-1 at 3:21 of the second period when he redirected Mitchell Marner's pass in the slot on the power play.

Matheson moved down from his point position below the goal line and fed Pysyk, who found a soft spot between two defenders, to fire his fifth upstairs on Andersen on Florida's second shot.

"We didn't play up to where we should have in the first two periods", Pysyk said.

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