Post-Game Analysis: Maple Leafs Beat Panthers 6-2 in Sunrise

Maple Leafs Star Auston Matthews Celebrates Goal With Teammates
Maple Leafs Star Auston Matthews Celebrates Goal With Teammates Photo credit: Andre Ringuette/NHL via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Florida Panthers 6-2 on Thursday night! After a disappointing loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, the blue and white bounced right back in Sunrise. Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews scored a pair, captain John Tavares had three points, and goaltender Matt Murray made thirty-three stops as he shined in this one.

In the opening period, both teams started strong, with these points being extremely valuable for both sides. This game was surely one to watch. Just five minutes into the first period, Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner found teammate Auston Matthews with a beautiful tape-to-tape pass in the Florida zone. Once Auston Matthews had the puck on his blade, the 25-year-old goalscorer ripped one right by Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The Maple Leafs went ahead 1-0 early.

However, just under ten minutes later, Florida Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk scored his thirty-fifth goal of the season. What looked like an outstanding athletic save from Leafs goaltender Matt Murray was eventually overturned after a video review. Despite the Maple Leafs goaltender getting his glove up quickly and making the stop, the puck barely made it over, tying this one at one apiece heading into intermission.

Once the intermission was over, the Maple Leafs came out flying. Only 1:20 into the period, Leafs star William Nylander scored his thirty-sixth goal of the season. After the blue and white took the lead, they didn’t stop there. Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews scored his second of the game and thirty-fourth of the season, giving Toronto a two-goal advantage. Auston took the puck behind the Florida goal, spinning onto his forehand using his lethal wrist shot to beat Sergei Bobrovsky.

After the blue and white took a 3-1 lead, Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins got the cats within a goal. The 29-year-old forward scored a nifty back-handed goal for his seventh of the season. Just when it looked like the Panthers were back in this one, Leafs star John Tavares set up his teammate Michael Bunting for the Maple Leafs fourth goal. The 27-year-old forward was found all alone for the shot after John Tavares nearly scored himself. Toronto went into the intermission up a pair, leading by a score of four to two. 

In the third period, the Florida Panthers came out with some juice. Needing these points badly, it was expected the cats wouldn’t go easy. After a pretty back-and-forth period, Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot scored his eighth of the season. Once the blue and white went ahead 5-2 late, the Florida Panthers pulled goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the extra attacker. Leafs star Mitch Marner came streaking in with teammate David Kampf on the empty net. Despite Mitch Marner trying to set up his teammate, the pass was intercepted, leading Mitch Marner to finish the opportunity himself. The Maple Leafs closed out this one with a 6-2 victory, bouncing back from Tuesday’s mess on Long Island. 

The blue and white will look ahead to Saturday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. After beating the canes on St.Patrick’s day last week in Toronto, the blue and white will now travel to Raleigh, as they look to come away with another two points. 

Thanks for reading! For more Leafs content, follow me on Twitter at ITR_Anselmo.

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Joshua Anselmo

A hockey mind that's always looking at new and insightful ways to bring different perspectives of the game we all love.

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