Road woes continue as Panthers fall 3-2 to Maple Leafs

Jonathan Marchessault nets two in latest Cats loss

Once again, the Florida Panthers could not hold a lead on the road, this time falling to the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 3-2 count. The Cats are now 0-2-1 away from the BB&T Center despite holding a lead at some point in all three of those games.

Jonathan Marchessault opened the scoring at the 6:55 mark of the first period with his fourth of the season, completing a 2-on-1 break with Jaromir Jagr, who drew the only assist.

Florida had a great chance to go up by two, but Frederik Andersen denied Greg McKegg on a breakaway midway through the frame.

The Maple Leafs evened the game with 1:04 left when Tyler Bozak scored from Nikita Zaitsev and Mitchell Marner. Bozak deflected Zaitsev’s point up and over Roberto Luongo after a period of sustained pressure from Toronto.

After a tripping penalty on William Nylander, Marchessault gave the Cats the lead back with a power-play goal 3:35 into the second. Marchessault took a long stretch pass from Keith Yandle and beat Andersen from the top of the right circle. The secondary assist on the play went to Luongo, giving the goaltender a rare point. The goal gave Marchessault his tenth point in seven games.

Marner picked up his second point of the night when he set up James van Reimsdyk for a backhand goal at 10:26 after a Panthers turnover. van Reimsdyk was able to slide the puck between Luongo’s legs after Marner passed through Jason Demers.

The Leafs netted the go-ahead goal with 3:56 left in the stanza, courtesy of Bozak’s second of the night. It was Marner that made it happen again. This time the impressive rookie collected an off the mark pass from Nazem Kadri and whipped the puck across to the far post without looking to the waiting Bozak, who directed it home.

The Panthers put nine shots on Andersen, who finished with 29 stops, in the third period, but could not come up with the equalizer. The Danish keeper fought off a Vincent Trocheck bullet with 7:47 remaining, getting just enough of the puck with his glove to preserve Toronto’s tenuous lead.

The reeling Cats, who have now lost fourth of five, will break today before finishing off the road trip with back-to-back games in Buffalo and Detroit.

Rakes & Bags

  • The win, just their second of the season, ended Toronto’s four-game losing streak.
  • So far, nineteen skaters have laced ‘em up for the Panthers in 2016-17. Nine of those players are still looking for their first goal.
  • Jonathan Marchessault’s two-goal performance was the first time he’s done that in the NHL. Marchessault now has points in four straight games.
  • Mitchell Marner three-assist night was the first multi-point game of his young career. Talk about doing it in style.
  • Marner, Tyler Bozak and Connor Carrick each finished the game with a +3 rating.
  • Roberto Luongo made 25 saves and took his second loss of the year.
  • The Cats held Auston Matthews off the score sheet, but the Leafs  phenom did have four shots on goal and two blocks. Matthews finished the game with a -1 rating.
  • I’m not sure Kyle Rau is ready for prime time. In three games as Jussi Jokinen’s second line replacement, Rau has just one shot on goal and is -2. He doing some things well, but contributing offensively isn’t one of them. Maybe it’s time to give Dryden Hunt, who three goals in four games for Springfield a call.
  • It’s okay, you’re a real boy (or girl), so do stop by Pension Plan Puppets for their take on the Buds win over the Cats./