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Toronto
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35-37-10
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Panthers
38-26-18

32 SOG
26 SOG
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TOR
FLA
game recap

Panthers 5, Maple Leafs 3

Tuesday, 12.27.2011 / 10:32 PM

Associated Press

Three Stars of the Game
Michal Repik
1st
G: 0Shots: 6
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 11:23
Mikhail Grabovski
2nd
Mikhail Grabovski
G: 2Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 19:42
Brian Campbell
3rd
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 3Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 21:40

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Panthers' scoring difficulties ended at the right time.

Coming into Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Panthers had not scored more than three goals since Dec. 5, a span of nine games, including an 8-0 loss in their last game against Boston.

However, the Panthers broke out of their drought as Kris Versteeg and Jason Garrison scored power play goals for the Panthers in a 5-3 win over the Maple Leafs.

"That's what we were really looking for," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "They're a really good hockey team. We're so respectful of the talent and that's not just blabber after the game. We really were worried about the speed and the skill that they have and sometimes the best defense is a good offense."

Erik Gudbranson, Bill Thomas, and Tomas Fleischmann also scored for the Panthers, and Brian Campbell had three assists.

"Right now with so many guys out, we may have to win games 1-0, 2-1, obviously it's nice to get a few," Campbell said.

Jose Theodore stopped 29 of 32 shots for the Panthers, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Mikhail Grabovski scored two goals to lead for the Leafs. Dion Phaneuf also scored.

Florida was 2 for 3 on the power play. Toronto was 1 for 4.

The Maple Leafs trailed 4-2 in the third when Grabovski and Jake Gardiner hit the post on consecutive long shots.

Grabovski did score when a shot by Clarke MacArthur deflected off his left skate while falling backwards in front of the net. The goal at 9:17 was reviewed and upheld, and cut the lead to 4-3.

Fleischmann gave the Panthers a 5-3 lead as he sneaked a puck past Jonas Gustavsson from the right wing and the Panthers held on for the final eight minutes.

"He scores big goals for us, that's what big-time players do," Campbell said.

Florida, coming off an 8-0 loss to Boston on Dec. 23, struck in the opening period on their first shot on goal.

Tim Kennedy dug the puck off the side boards away from Joffrey Lupul and passed it back to Gudbranson, who rocketed a slap shot from the blue line past James Reimer' glove side for a 1-0 lead. It was the second goal of the season for the 19-year old rookie defenseman.

The Leafs outshot the Panthers 11-4 in the first and were finally able to score in the second. Grabovski converted after nifty passes from Cody Franson and Nikolai Kulemin.

Nineteen seconds later, the Panthers responded as Thomas got ahead of the pack and scored on a breakaway as the puck slid off his stick beating Reimer.

"You can't do much about the guy who missed his shot," Reimer said. "It was a kind of a fluky goal."

Reimer's night ended after the Panthers extended their lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal by Garrison.

Reimer stopped five of eight shots before being replaced by Gustavsson, who didn't fare much better as Versteeg scored a 5 on 3-power play goal three minutes into his turn in net.

The Panthers' second-period scoring barrage, which included three goals in less than five minutes, gave them a 4-1 lead.

"It was 1-to-1 and we were controlling the game," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "They scored early but didn't have a sniff after that and from 1-to-1 we should've been able to springboard off of that and we immediately gave them the lead right back."

NOTES: Prior to the game, the Maple Leafs placed D John-Michael Liles on injured reserve due to concussion-like symptoms stemming from a hit by Buffalo's Paul Gastad on Dec. 22. . Maple Leafs F Joffrey Lupul has recorded a point in nine of his last 10 games. . Panthers F Stephen Weiss (upper body injury) missed his second consecutive game. . Panthers top prospect Jonathan Huberdeau, the third overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, had a goal and four assists for Canada in an 8-1 win over Finland at the world junior hockey championship Monday. ... Former NFL and Florida Gators star Jevon Kearse was in attendance.

scoring summary
1st Period
01:57
FLA
Erik Gudbranson (2) Slapshot - ASST: Tim Kennedy (1)
1 - 0 FLA
2nd Period
02:11
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Cody Franson (6), Nikolai Kulemin (11)
1 - 1 Tie
02:30
FLA
Bill Thomas (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Evgenii Dadonov (1), Mark Cullen (1)
2 - 1 FLA
04:13
FLA
PPG - Jason Garrison (11) Tip-in - ASST: Brian Campbell (25), Michal Repik (1)
3 - 1 FLA
06:55
FLA
PPG - Kris Versteeg (17) Wrist shot - ASST: Brian Campbell (26), Tomas Kopecky (10)
4 - 1 FLA
09:34
TOR
Dion Phaneuf (5) Snap shot - ASST: Phil Kessel (22), Joffrey Lupul (23)
4 - 2 FLA
3rd Period
09:17
TOR
PPG - Mikhail Grabovski (10) Deflected shot - ASST: Clarke MacArthur (7), Cody Franson (7)
4 - 3 FLA
11:44
FLA
Tomas Fleischmann (13) Snap shot - ASST: Matt Bradley (3), Brian Campbell (27)
5 - 3 FLA
penalty summary
1st Period
14:35
FLA
Jason Garrison  Hooking against  Matt Frattin
2nd Period
03:17
TOR
Keith Aulie  Cross checking against  Tim Kennedy
05:14
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski  Slashing against  Dmitry Kulikov
05:54
TOR
Clarke MacArthur  Too many men/ice - bench
3rd Period
02:41
FLA
Brian Campbell  Holding against  Carl Gunnarsson
08:03
FLA
Tomas Fleischmann  Hooking against  Tim Connolly
12:30
FLA
Mark Cullen  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
goalie stats
James Reimer
James Reimer
SA: 8TOI: 24:13
Saves: 5EV: 5 - 7
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 1
SV%: .625SH: 0 - 0
Jonas Gustavsson
Jonas Gustavsson
9-7-0
SA: 18TOI: 33:34
Saves: 16EV: 12 - 13
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 2
SV%: .889SH: 3 - 3
Jose Theodore
SA: 32TOI: 60:00
Saves: 29EV: 27 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 3
SV%: .906SH: 0 - 0
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