Auston Matthews notched two goals and two assists, John Tavares also scored twice, Mitch Marner added a goal and an assist, and Morgan Reilly became the first defenseman to hit the 40-point mark by dishing out four assists (whew!) to power the Toronto Maple Leafs to 6-1 blowout win over the Florida Panthers.
The Cats played a pretty good first period and had some early chances, but Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen made big early saves on Mike Hoffman and Aleksander Barkov to keep the game tied until Matthews converted a perfect cross-ice pass from Marner for a power-play goal with 1:43 left in the frame.
Matthews ripped a one-timer past Roberto Luongo off a crisp feed from Reilly 3:50 into the second and Nazem Kadri finished off a 2-on-1 pass from Connor Brown to give the Buds a three-goal pad. Kadri had a goal waved off earlier as it was ruled he kicked the puck over the goal line.
Tavares solved Luongo twice in the first 5:41 of the third period to make the game a rout.
His first came on the power play when he swatted in the rebound of a Matthews shot, and the second was a one-timer from the left circle that sent Luongo to bench with 17 saves on 22 shots.
Rookie Henrik Borgstrom collected his first of the season at 10:28, with the Panthers on a power play, when he took a pass from Jared McCann and beat Andersen with a wrist shot from the right circle. Frank Vatrano, who picked up the secondary assist, provided a nice screen on the shot.
Marner completed the scoring on another man advantage at 15:14 when he banked a pass off MacKenzie Weegar’s chest and by a helpless James Reimer.
After about the first ten minutes or so, this was just a night to forget for the Panthers, who put up little resistance as the Maple Leafs cavalcade of stars proceeded to skate circles around them the rest of the game. The Buds were highly-efficient and ruthless, needing just 26 shots to score their six goals. This didn’t look like the same Cats team that beat Toronto five days ago and then followed that by posting an impressive road win over Buffalo on Tuesday. Florida needs to get its act back together quickly with this upcoming weekend back-to-back against Detroit and Chicago, opponents who reside more in the Panthers neighborhood.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)