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Recap: Panthers 4, Leafs 3

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John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Box ScoreWar On Ice

The Leafs started this one already shorthanded, as they were missing many key players, not only long-term injured players such as James van Riemsdyk, but also Nazem Kadri due to injury, leaving Frederik Gauthier to face the Panthers' top line.

Play in the first period was evenly controlled by the Leafs and Panthers, though Gauthier had a good chance to score midway through the first, as he tipped a great pass wide of the net.

The Panthers had their first power play of the game at 17:45 of the first as TJ Brennan got called for holding, and Michael Grabner had his usual shorthanded breakaway which he totally failed to capitalize on. The Panthers managed a few shots but didn't do any damage before the end of the first.

It only took a minute and a half into the second for the Panthers to strike. Although Jonathan Bernier was able to make the initial save on a Panthers' rush, Nick Bjugstad buried the rebound after Frank Corrado found himself too far away to do anything about it.

Kasperi Kapanen took a penalty just seconds later to put the Leafs on their heels, but the penalty killers managed to neutralize the Florida chance.

Corrado took another penalty just a few minutes later to give the Panthers another chance on the power play, but again the Leafs' penalty killers stood tall. After the penalty expired, the Leafs continued to get hemmed in, and had to take their timeout to rest their tired defenders.

The shots were 11-1 at roughly the 9-minute mark of the second and total was 20-8 by the midway point of the game.

At 9:29 the Panthers extended their lead to two goals as Rocco Grimaldi flew down his off-wing and wristed a shot over Bernier's glove on what was probably a saveable chance.

Shortly thereafter, Grimaldi had his second to make it 3-0. A long, cross-ice pass found him for the one-timer that Kapanen didn't prevent and Bernier couldn't seal off the far side.

With just over three minutes left in the second, the Panthers appeared to have gone ahead 4-0 when Reilly Smith tipped a point shot less than 3 feet in front of Bernier. Gord Miller himself announced a goal before realizing that Bernier had, in fact, caught the puck.

Kapanen came close to putting the Leafs on the board but Al Montoya got his glove down for a rebound save at the last minute.

By the end of two periods, the Panthers lead the Leafs 26-14 in shots.

Just 2:32 into the third, the Leafs appeared to have cut the Panthers' lead to 2 when Byron Froese scored on Montoya, only to have the goal called back due to (totally dismissible) goaltender interference by Brad Boyes. The play was reviewed by the referees after being challenged by Florida.

Finally, the Leafs drew blood on the power play. At 5:50 into the third, William Nylander made a great saucer pass to Colin Greening, who notched his 5th of the season. Morgan Rielly had the secondary assist.

Then, with 11:06 left in regulation, the Leafs managed to come within 1, as Brennan scored his first NHL goal since he was a Florida Panther. The play was reviewed, but ultimately the goal was upheld,

The Leafs' momentum appeared to be stifled with 10:30 left, as Aleksander Barkov notched a goal with assists going to Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad, but the Leafs refused to relent.

Greening scored again to keep the Panthers on their toes on a nice feed from Tyler Bozak, but the Leafs were unable to do any further damage, and the Panthers took this one in regulation.