Lucas Viveiros | Report

The Toronto Maple Leafs came up short in the state of Florida for the second time in three nights, losing this time to the Florida Panthers 4-3 in overtime. 

Toronto had a number of great chances to score the first goal of the game, but none better than William Nylander’s breakaway with just under 13 minutes played in the first. Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo looked as if he were in his prime on this save, stoning Nylander with the glove.

The Panthers would then take advantage on the power-play, scoring on a pretty passing play with under three seconds to go in the period. The Cats captain, Aleksander Barkov would show why he’s a superstar in this league in this game, as he was just getting started.

Florida’s power-play would continue to be dangerous into the second period, and they would double down on their lead with 11:57 to play in the middle frame. On the goal, the Panthers would show off their high end skill, moving around the puck with ease before Jonathan Huberdeau would snipe one over the glove of Andersen to make the score 2-0 Panthers.

Aleksander Barkov would nearly make it 3-0 after being sprung on a short-handed breakaway, but Freddy Andersen would just get enough off the biscuit to hold the score at 2-0.

The next goal of the game would come on a John Tavares deflection, just over halfway through the third, as Toronto finally would get on the scoresheet. The goal came off of some nice puck movement by the Buds, and ended with a quick snap shot from Jake Gardiner and a quick tip by John Tavares to cut the lead to 2-1.

Momentum began to swing in the Leafs favour, as Toronto would respond with the tying goal a few minutes later because of some beautiful patience by Mitch Marner. Marner would out wait the Panthers defense and fire one over the glove of Luongo to tie the game at two’s.

But the game would have a seesaw ending, as the Panthers would take the lead with 3:12 remaining, with Barkov being left all alone in the slot and wristing one by Andersen for his second of the game and giving his team what seemed to look like the game winning goal.

But Mitch Marner wasn’t ready to pack his bags just yet, as with 1:39 to play and the Leafs with the extra attacker on the ice, Marner would snipe a seeing-eye-shot by Luongo to send this crazy game to overtime.

In the extra frame Huberdeau and Barkov would attack the Leafs end on a two-on-one, and ultimately Barkov would wait for Andersen to bite, and then roof the backhand upstairs to complete the hat-trick and reward his Panthers with a 4-3 victory.

Revisit the game’s highlights below.

More news from the ice

  • Zach Hyman returned to the lineup following the two game suspension he picked up in Boston last Saturday
  • William Nylander still has yet to score in his return from his contract dispute and the Leafs are 1-2-2 since his return
  • The Maple Leafs mother’s road trip came to a conclusion following this game
  • Florida has now scored at least one power-play goal in 19 of their past 22 games
  • Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad missed his fourth game with an upper-body injury

Out of town scoreboard

Saturday December 15th

Calgary 2 Minnesota 1

Ottawa 2 Montreal 5

Detroit 3 NY Islanders 4 (SO)

Los Angeles 3 Pittsburgh 4 (OT)

Buffalo 3 Washington 4 (SO)

Anaheim 2 Columbus 1 (OT)

New Jersey 1 Nashville 2 (SO)

Dallas 4 Colorado 6

Philadelphia 1 Vancouver 5

More coverage to follow. Image from Yahoo Sports.

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