R2 G4: Leafs 2 Panthers 1
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
The Toronto Maple Leafs scathe off elimination with a courageous 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers in game four.
Down 3-0 in the series heading into tonight, Toronto had a lot of question marks when it came to what kind of effort they will put forward. Questions already started circulating about what the team, coaching staff and management will look like next season.
The Maple Leafs silenced those questions. Yes, they still trail the series 3-1 but it was an answer, nonetheless.
None of the “core four” scored in the first three games of this series and Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews told the media they were aware of that before the game. William Nylander said it was going to be “fun”.
It was fun for Nylander who looked like he had a new set of legs in this one. For the first period of this one, it looked as though he was only one really generating chances. He scored the first goal on the powerplay to open the scoring in the second period. This was his first goal in seven games with the last coming in Toronto’s 7-2 victory in game two of the first round over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Marner was the scapegoat for the first three games of this series as well due to his lack of production. He had one assist in three games prior to this one and hadn’t scored a goal in the same span as Nylander. Marner walked into a slapshot that beat Sergei Bobrovsky under the arm halfway through the third period for the 2-0 lead.
Joseph Woll started in his first NHL playoff game. He came in relief of Ilya Samsonov early in game three after an injury to the Maple Leafs starter. He allowed all three goals in that one but was phenomenal in game four.
Woll only allowed one goal on 25 shots, and it was on Florida’s third powerplay of the game. Just two minutes after Marner’s goal, Sam Reinhart scored his sixth of the playoffs and second in as many games to avoid the rookies shutout in his first start.
Following the final whistle as the Maple Leafs were ready to walk away with the victory and climb back in the series, Brandon Montour took a run at Morgan Reilly knocking him to the ice. Havok broke out as Sam Bennett found himself on top of Jake McCabe throwing punches as he lay defenceless on his back on the ice. Matthew Tkachuk, who has been outstanding this postseason registering another assist tonight, trying baiting Marner by punching him in the face with his gloves still on. Game five will be interesting to say the least.
This is the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Maple Leafs have scored just two goals in six consecutive games. They are 2-6 in that run.
Toronto also avoided another injury scare, this time to David Kampf. Running 11 forwards and seven defence again, T.J. Brodie took a penalty in front of the net midway through the second. Kampf grabbed the puck in the corner and heard the whistle go. About a second after the whistle Radko Gudas, who came flying in from the blueline, finished his check on Kampf. He left to the locker room but did return.
It is also unclear whether the Maple Leafs will have rookie Matthew Knies back after he suffered a concussion because of Bennett in game two. He didn’t travel with the team to Florida, but it was never stated if he would miss the rest of the series.
Game five is set for Friday night back in Toronto as the Maple Leafs look to crawl their way back after a valiant 2-1 defensive win. Expect Woll to have the net.
TOR Scoring: Nylander PP (3), Marner (3)
FLA Scoring: Reinhart PP (6)