It was a close game between the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs. And, you can’t blame the Maple Leafs for how their offense played. That said, the team made a couple of key mistakes early during the second period. The Panthers took advantage and went up 3-2.
That was the game’s last scoring. With the 3-2 final score, the Panthers now take a 2-0 series lead in their second-round playoff series. Anton Lundell, Aleksander Barkov, and Gustav Forsling scored for Florida. The other way, Ryan O’Reilly and Alexander Kerfoot scored for Toronto.
With his assist in the first period, Auston Matthews extended his point streak to eight games. That matches a franchise record. Sadly, all for naught.
But once again, the key player in this game was Panthers’ goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. He was absolutely dialed in and made 35 saves for the Panthers. He was THE crucial player in helping his team take home the victory.
The series now travels to Sunrise, Florida, for Game 3 on Sunday. That game is followed by Game 4 on Wednesday.
Takeaway One: The Maple Leafs Offense Kicked In, But They Couldn’t Solve Bobrovsky
The Maple Leafs played a good overall game. However, a 42-second span at the start of the second period proved impossible for them to overcome. Still, if Maple Leafs’ fans are looking for positives, there are some.
Specifically, Toronto finally started to get its offense going during the third period. The team created a ton of offensive chances, and the previously quiet William Nylander led the way. Although the shots were 11-11, the ice was slanted in the Maple Leafs’ favor.
Toronto made some amazing offensive plays; and, in doing so, put a ton of pressure on Bobrovsky. However, sometimes a goalie steals a game from the opposition. In this series, Bobrovsky has now stolen two games with his unbelievable performance and a number of unbelievable saves.
Related: If Panthers Want to Be Underdogs to Maple Leafs, Let Them
Takeaway Two: Now the Schedule Gets Odd, Which Likely Favors Bobrovsky
After Thursday’s game, the schedule now suddenly gets odd. Instead of the usual single day between starts, there will be two days between today and Sunday (which is Game 3 in the series); then, after Sunday, there are two days between starts and the next game won’t be until Wednesday.
Given Bobrovsky’s age and propensity to wear down with too heavy a workload, the extra rest likely benefits him and his Panthers’ teammates. Bobrovsky will get an extra day’s rest before both home games, which will be huge for his recovery.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Momentum, Motivation & Giordano
Takeaway Three: One Minute Cost the Maple Leafs the Game
The Maple Leafs were in this game and nicely ahead on the score sheet. However, mistakes in puck management erased any chances the Maple Leafs had of winning Thursday’s game. Two crucial mistakes in less than a minute cost the team the game-tying goal and then the game-winning goal.
The hope for the Maple Leafs is that they have not yet lost a game in Florida. They really have to win to stay in this series.
Next game up? Sunday night.
Related: How Can the Maple Leafs Get the Most Out of William Nylander?
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