SUNRISE, Fla. — Mike Matheson scored the winning goal to help the Florida Panthers snap a seven-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Friday night.
Mike Hoffman and Frank Vatrano also scored for Florida. Roberto Luongo made 20 saves and Luongo moved within four wins of tying Ed Belfour (484) for third place on the NHL’s all-time wins list.
Vincent Trocheck, who returned tothe Panthers’ lineup after missing 27 games with a broken ankle, had an assist on Matheson’s goal.
Ron Hainsey scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost six of their last nine. Garret Sparks stopped 26 shots in his first start since Dec. 29th.
The Panthers took a 2-1 lead when Trocheck passed to Matheson at the point and he one-timed a shot from the point that beat Sparks with 5:01 left in the first.
Vatrano’s empty-net goal with 1:49 left capped the scoring.
The Leafs jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Hainsey’s goal 1:49 in. Hainsey took a pass from Morgan Rielly at the blue line and fired the puck through traffic past Luongo.
The Panthers tied it 1-all on Hoffman’s team-leading 23rd goal. Keith Yandle took a shot from the blue line and Hoffman redirected the puck past Sparks at 9:02 of the first.
NOTES: Panthers D Josh Brown made his NHL debut. … D MacKenzie Weegar has been placed on injured reserve. … Forward Juho Lammikko has been loaned to AHL Springfield.
Maple Leafs: Host Arizona on Sunday.
Panthers: Visit Nashville on Saturday.
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Paul Gereffi, The Associated Press