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2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

East Semis, G3: Florida Panthers 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 2 (OT)

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SUNRISE — The Toronto Maple Leafs came into their Game 3 showdown with the Florida Panthers on Sunday feeling pretty good about their past Sunshine State exploits in these playoffs.

Toronto, after all, went 3-0 in Tampa in the opening round and dispatched the Lightning in 6 games.

The Leafs are unbeaten in Florida no more.

The Panthers got a goal from Sam Reinhart 3:02 in overtime to take a 3-2 win at FLA Live Arena and a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Game 4 will be held in Sunrise on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. (ESPN).

Florida, of course, will be looking for the sweep.

The Panthers have not had a 3-0 series lead since 1996 when they opened up against the Boston Bruins. Florida lost Game 4 of that one but won the series in 5.

Florida also got goals from Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe; Sergei Bobrovsky has now won six consecutive playoff games to add to his Florida franchise record. He ended with 22 saves including all 11 in the third period.

The Panthers are now 3-0 in overtime this postseason after winning Games 5 and 7 in Boston.

The Leafs had to play most of the game without goalie Ilya Samsonov after he was taken out by teammate Luke Schenn early in the second period.

Schenn drove in with Verhaeghe — tripping him in the process — as the two went into the cage. It appeared Schenn hit his goalie in the head.

Regardless, Samsonov (8 saves) had to be attended to on the ice as he eventually went to the Toronto room. Joseph Woll came in to kill off the Schenn penalty — with Duclair scoring 1:59 later to tie the score at 1.

Toronto eventually took a 2-1 lead when a Erik Gustafsson shot went off of Marc Staal, but Florida got its second goal of the period off Woll when Radko Gudas’ 55-foot shot went through off Verhaeghe’s tailfeathers.

Woll ended up giving up 2 goals on 13 shots in the second period.

Bobrovsky was solid in net for the Panthers, allowing the Staal goal in the second period as well as a 2-on-1 breakaway 2:26 in when Sam Lafferty scored on Toronto’s first shot of the night.

GOALS OF THE GAME

  • Leafs 1, Panthers 0 (2:26, 1st): Sam Lafferty and David Kampf get loose on a 2-on-1 breakout with Lafferty getting his first of the postseason on Toronto’s first shot of the night.
  • Panthers 1, Leafs 1 (2:36, 2nd): Anthony Duclair scores with 1 second remaining in a Luke Schenn penalty as he breaks loose and picks up a stretch pass from Aaron Ekblad.
  • Leafs 2, Panthers 1 (7:32, 2nd): Sergei Bobrovsky comes out to play Erik Gustafsson as Kampf snuck around the back door unguarded. But Gustafsson’s pass to his wide open teammate hit the stick of Marc Staal and went in, giving Gustafsson the go-ahead goal.
  • Panthers 2, Leafs 2 (12:28, 2nd): It wasn’t a Butt Fumble but Radko Gudas’ shot from 55 feet out hit the backside of Carter Verhaeghe and, yada-yada-yada, it’s a tie game.
  • Panthers 3, Leafs 2 (3:02, OT): Sam Reinhart comes in with a wraparound and wins it for the Panthers. Game 4 on Wednesday night.

GR’S 3 STARS OF GAME 3

1. Sam Reinhart, Florida

2. Anthony Duclair, Florida

3. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (ATL2) AT FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 4 (Florida Leads 3-0)

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