The Florida Panthers returned from the Christmas weekend break with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night at BB&T Center. It was the fourth game of a five-game homestand for the Cats.
After the Panthers failed to score on their first two power plays, Toronto(15-12-7) responded as they got a 1-0 lead at 10:38 of the first period. Connor Brown took a spinning snap shot from the high slot which was stopped by Austin Matthews in the low slot. He went placed a one-handed backhand shot into the Panthers cage for his 17th goal of the season.
In the second period, the Maple Leafs scored during a 4-on-3 situation with 2:06 remaining. Matthews sent a cross-ice pass from the right circle to the left circle. William Nylander fired a slapshot past Roberto Luongo to make it a two-goal cushion.
Florida(15-14-7) answered back 29 seconds into the third period to close the gap 2-1. Toronto tried to clear the puck out of their zone and it was stopped by Keith Yandle at the left point. He blasted a slapshot which bounced off Jonathan Marchessault and he put in his 11th goal of the year from the crease area.
The Panthers tied the contest at 2:43 of the frame. Marchessault backhanded a pass from the end wall to Jakub Kindl at the top of the zone. Frederik Andersen made the initial save, however Vincent Trocheck lifted the puck into the top half of the Leafs net for his 100th NHL point.
The game lasted all the way to the shootout. The Maple Leafs converted on their third attempt as Mitchell Marner scored on a forehand shot for the victory.