Recap: Maple Leafs force Game 5 with 2-1 win over Panthers

Recap: Maple Leafs force Game 5 with 2-1 win over Panthers

William Nylander and Mitch Marner got the goals and rookie goalie Joseph Woll stopped 24 shots as the Toronto Maple Leafs lived to fight another day with a taut 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers.

After a scoreless first period, Nylander put the Maple Leafs up 3:29 into the second when he converted an unfortunate bounce off the referee into a power-play goal. Michael Bunting's pass along the boards caromed off the knee of the zebra and found Nylander wide-open in front. His shot caught the post and the back of Sergei Bobrovksy before tumbling into the net. Marner picked up the secondary helper on the goal that came with Eetu Luostarinen in the penalty box for high-sticking.

Toronto went up by two midway through the third when Marner took a pass from Jake McCabe and snapped a long shot through a sea of traffic that found pay dirt.

The Panthers would pull within one with 7:47 remaining thanks to a power-play marker from Sam Reinhart. After Matthew Tkachuk sent the puck along the back boards boards to Sam Bennett on the other side, Bennett went right back to Tkachuk, who once touched a pass to Reinhart in the low slot. Reinhart shot got through Woll's legs, but needed an additional tap to go over the goal line.

Unfortunately, the Panthers only mustered up four shots the rest of the way, and a absolutely superb poke-check by Luke Schenn blunted a late bid for the tying goal by Carter Verhaeghe.

Florida's passing was off, they got too many shots blocked, and were repelled far too easily from the offensive zone too many times, wasting another high-quality start from Bobrovsky, who finished with 23 stops and was the Panthers best player in my opinion.

The series shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Friday. The Cats will need to be a little hungrier and execute at a higher level than they did last night.

Rakes & Bags

  • Joseph Woll made his first career playoff start and collected his first postseason win. The Cats failed to get enough quantity or quality on Woll, allowing the 24-year-old to settle in and remain rather comfortable all night. Woll is the 11th rookie goalie to win a playoff game in Maple Leafs history, and the first since Felix Potvin made 41 saves against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the 1993 Campbell Conference Final.
  • Matthew Tkachuk's assist gave him 11 this postseason, pushing him past Stu Barnes for the most in a single postseason in franchise history. Barnes had ten assists in 1996.
  • Aleksander Barkov finished the tilt with a game-high six shots and was credited with three hits and two blocks. Solid game for Sasha, who didn't get much help from his wings Anthony Duclair (0 shots) and Carter Verhaeghe (2 shots).
  • Toronto was the stronger team in the dot with 28 faceoff wins to 17 for Florida, The Maple Leafs also out-hit the Cats 26 to 21 and blocked 21 shots.
  • Sam Reinhart has scored Florida's last two goals and he is now with Brandon Montour with six to lead the team.
  • For more on Game 4, visit Pension Plan Puppets.