Tuesday’s showdown between the Leafs and Florida Panthers came down to a goaltending battle in which Frederik Andersen emerged as the victor.
Andersen stopped all 40 shots that he faced en route to his fifth shutout of the season in a 1-0 Toronto win. His counterpart Roberto Luongo was nearly flawless, but a lone gaffe turned out to be the difference in the game.
With 30.2 seconds left in the first period James van Riemsdyk took a pass from Tyler Bozak and beat Luongo between the pads for his 25th goal of the season.
“I’d be lying if I said that’s where I wanted to shoot it,” said van Riemsdyk. “That’s just how it goes sometimes. Both goalies played pretty well and we’re happy to come out on top.”
The win was Toronto’s seventh straight victory on home ice. Jake Gardiner earned the secondary assist on van Riemsdyk’s goal, registering the 200th point of his NHL career.
Andersen was complimented by his adversary Luongo, who called the Leaf one of the upper-tier goalies of the NHL.
“Obviously, (Luongo) has been around for a long time and seen a lot of good goalies,” Andersen said. “That’s cool to get some praise from him.”