Fresh off a hard-fought defeat in Tampa, the Leafs continued their foray into the Sunshine State, finishing with a much better result on the scoreboard.
Nazem Kadri scored his third career hat trick, and Connor Brown collected three assists as Toronto defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Tuesday.
Special teams worked in favour of the Leafs. Toronto went 3-for-4 on the power play while not allowing a goal on any of Florida’s three man advantages. Michael Grabner opened the scoring in the game with a shorthanded marker.
After Jonathan Huberdeau evened the score in the second period, Kadri responded for his team, converting twice on the power play.
PA Parenteau – with his 19th marker of the season – extended the Leafs’ lead at 6:34 of the final frame.
The Panthers clawed back after former Toronto prospect Greg McKegg collected his first career NHL goal.
Kadri completed the hat trick into an empty net. Jonathan Bernier made 32 saves for the victory. For the goaltender, it marked his sixth consecutive start of allowing two or fewer goals.
“I felt good tonight. One of those games where the puck seems to be following you,” Brown said to reporters after the game. “You get a point early on in the first period and you just settle in. Especially for me, just feel way more comfortable wanting to make plays. So when you get that early point or early success it really carries through the rest of the game.”