The Panthers took on the Leafs tonight in the Air Canada Center and despite playing a good game left the ice with a 3-1 loss and a bitter taste in their mouths.
They played a solid first period but were down 1-0 after Tyler Bozak beat Scott Clemmensen, who got the nod over Tomas Vokoun tonight, with just 41 seconds remaining. Dion Phaneuf made a beautiful pass to Nikolai Kulemin who eventually got the puck out front and Bozak shot it into a near empty net. The Leafs out-shot the Panthers 8-4 on the period.
In the second, Dennis Wideman scored the lone goal for the Cats when a loose puck found his stick at the blue line and he found a hole in Giguere. Wideman's goal, his second powerplay goal of the season, is only the team's second powerplay goal as well. They went 1-3 with the man advantage in this game. Florida had the edge in the second in shots 10-8.
Despite playing a very good thrid period the Panthers conceded two goals to lose the game 3-1. 11:02 into the period, Toronto's Tim Brent picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired it into a gaping net. Clemmensen immediately sat up and skated to the referee because he was upset that Colton Orr had interfered with him. Upon seeing the replay it is clear that Orr skated directly into Clemmensen and pushes him out of the way, giving Brent a wide open net to shoot the puck into. Another blunder by the officials led to the Leafs third goal. The Panthers had established pressure in the Leafs zone in hopes to tie the game late in the third and after Marty Reasoner ran into Giguere as retribution for Orr hitting Clemmensen, Giguere takes out Reasoner who was skating for an open puck. The Panthers continued their pressure until Phil Kessel stole the puck at the point and out-raced Dennis Wideman for a breakaway that he easily shot past Clemmensen to give the Leafs a two goal cushion with 2:24 remaining in the game.
Although they looked good against one of the best teams in the league as of now, the Panthers still record a loss and drop to 3-4 on the season. Although it is still early in the season, no team wants to fall behind early and the Panthers are in danger of doing just that. They have tomorrow off and are back on the ice on Thursday (10/28) at ScotiaBank Place as they take on the Ottawa Senators, who picked up a win tonight against Phoenix and are now 3-5-1 on the season.