|FLA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|TOR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
The Panthers are coming home, and they’re returning to BankAtlantic Center on a roll.
Behind goals from Stephen Weiss, Ville Peltonen, Michael Frolik and Gregory Campbell – and goalie Tomas Vokoun’s 200th NHL career victory - the Panthers ended their four-game road trip Tuesday evening at the Air Canada Centre with a 4-2 victory over the Maple Leafs.
The Panthers, in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, return to South Florida with two critical games this week against Southeast Division rivals. They play host Thursday evening to the Carolina Hurricanes and then welcome Saturday afternoon the Atlanta Thrashers.
Tuesday’s victory against the Leafs, coupled with Saturday’s victory against the Penguins and Sunday’s shootout loss to the Canadiens, gave the Panthers five of a possible six points in their final three road games after a rough start on Long Island.
They can thank the victory in part to Weiss, who has 17 points (five goals) in his last 20 games, the rookie Frolik, who has 15 points (seven goals) in his last 18 games, and the line of Peltonen, Campbell and Radek Dvorak. Vokoun stopped 24 shots.
Through 40 games, the Panthers are 18-16-6. They’re three points ahead of where they were at this time last year and seven points ahead of their 2006-07 record.
TORONTO (AP) -Bryan McCabe helped deflect the boos of the Toronto Maple Leafs' fans from him to their own team.
McCabe, a former Leafs defenseman who was traded to Florida in the offseason, had an assist on the game's first goal and the Florida Panthers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Tuesday night.
"They were really flat," McCabe said. "We really outplayed them, got up a couple, and we really didn't look back from there. It was a good game."
Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jason Blake scored for the Maple Leafs. Vesa Toskala made 30 saves.
Weiss beat Toskala with a high wrist shot at 10:16 of the first period to open the scoring. McCabe got an assist. The shots were 11-0 for Florida at that point.
"The boos weren't too bad out there," McCabe said. "I got it much worse when I played here. It was fine."
"The guys around here have been booing him to get him prepared, kind of getting him immune to it for the last two days," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "I've got all the respect in the world for Bryan McCabe. I think he's handled the situation like a consummate professional and I can't say enough. I can't imagine anyone would handle the situation better than he has."
Peltonen extended the lead to 2-0 at 17:38 after taking a nice pass from Campbell and beating Toskala with a quick shot.
Frolik made it 3-0 at 14:18 of the second. He skated into the middle of the Leafs' zone and connected on a wrist shot.
"I was not very happy with the effort," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "We had zero energy at all from any veteran players, to show up and lead the way. It was a quiet room before the game, it was quiet on the bench.
"We've got to find a way to get a little bit more passion or energy when we play a team like that."
Ponikarovsky's power-play goal early in the third period briefly gave the Leafs some hope, but Campbell restored Florida's three-goal advantage by tipping a point shot home at 10:20.
Blake made a nice play to knock in his own rebound on a short-handed breakaway at 12:09. It was Toronto's first short-handed goal since last season.
Notes: World junior gold medalists Cody Hodgson and Cody Goloubef were given a loud ovation before the game ... Florida's David Booth assisted on the first goal to extend his points streak to six games ... Toronto forward John Mitchell had two assists ... Leafs executive Joe Nieuwendyk played for both teams and worked in Florida's front office after retiring.
|PPG - Stephen Weiss (7) ASST: David Booth (8), Bryan McCabe (12)|
1 - 0 FLA
|Ville Peltonen (6) ASST: Gregory Campbell (9), Radek Dvorak (11)|
2 - 0 FLA
|Michael Frolik (8) ASST: Stephen Weiss (19), Cory Stillman (9)|
3 - 0 FLA
|PPG - Alexei Ponikarovsky (13) ASST: Nik Antropov (18), John Mitchell (8)|
3 - 1 FLA
|Gregory Campbell (7) ASST: Jay Bouwmeester (15), Ville Peltonen (10)|
4 - 1 FLA
|SHG - Jason Blake (10) ASST: John Mitchell (9)|
4 - 2 FLA
|Nikolay Kulemin Hooking against Ville Peltonen|
|Andre Deveaux Fighting against Jassen Cullimore|
|Jassen Cullimore Fighting against Andre Deveaux|
|Jassen Cullimore Roughing against Andre Deveaux|
|Pavel Kubina Holding against Keith Ballard|
|Jay Bouwmeester Slashing against Dominic Moore|
|David Booth Interference against Nikolay Kulemin|
|Karlis Skrastins Cross checking against Lee Stempniak|
|Ian White Hooking against Stephen Weiss|
|Dominic Moore Tripping against Jay Bouwmeester|
|SA: 26||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 24||EV: 19 - 19|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 5|
|SV%: .923||SH: 1 - 2|
|SA: 34||TOI: 57:56|
|Saves: 30||EV: 24 - 27|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 5|
|SV%: .882||SH: 2 - 2|