Fri, 09 Jun 2023

Panthers aim to stop slide in road clash vs. Maple Leafs

Field Level Media
29 Mar 2023, 06:40 GMT+10

The Florida Panthers will try to end a four-game losing streak that has severely damaged their playoff chances when they visit the playoff-bound Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

The Panthers (36-31-7, 79 points) opened a four-game trip with a 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Monday night, a result that helped Toronto (44-20-9, 97 points) officially clinch a playoff spot.

"We've got to put on our big-boy pants and just do it," Florida forward Ryan Lomberg said Saturday after his team's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers. "We know what we're up against."

"We've got to find that inner confidence, especially when it's a little bit shaky," Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. "You start chasing that game (against New York) before you should. We had no business chasing that game. ... The first thing you'll do is look at your leaders to lead, to have their 'A' games. We have other guys that can play better."

Florida allowed three power-play goals on Monday.

"I think for the most part we were pretty good." Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk said. "It wasn't a bad performance. We just got into some penalty trouble and they capitalized on their chances. I thought five-on-five we dominated but special teams did not go in our favor."

The Maple Leafs are returning from a 3-2-0 trip that ended with a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Sunday, one day after a 5-3 setback to the Carolina Hurricanes.

"Fourth game of the week and a tough back-to-back and we stayed composed," said Toronto captain John Tavares, who scored twice Sunday. "We carried the play. We didn't give up a whole lot. We were more connected through all three zones, some really good things happening the last three games. So, a good result, nice way to finish the road trip."

Joseph Woll made 23 saves for Toronto on Sunday.

"It was awesome," Woll said. "Every chance I get is a great experience. I'm always grateful when I get to hop in the net with the Leafs."

In eight career NHL games, Woll is 6-2-0 with a .922 save percentage and a 2.39 goals-against average. That includes four games this season in which he is 3-1-0, with a .934 save percentage and a 2.03 GAA.

With goaltender Ilya Samsonov returning after the birth of his son, Woll was returned to the AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies on Tuesday.

The Maple Leafs' next step will be to clinch second place in the Atlantic Division. They have nine games remaining and entered play on Tuesday with a seven-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have eight games remaining.

"There are still games left to play," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. "We've got to get through our games, see where our lineup is at. We're hoping to stay healthy and get (Ryan) O'Reilly back and things will take care of themselves."

The Maple Leafs have qualified for the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons but have not won a playoff series since 2004.

--Field Level Media

More St Petersburg (Florida) News

Access More

Sign up for The St Petersburg News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!