Matthew Iaboni January 05, 2010
Air Canada Centre
With the Leafs up 3-2 late in the third period, Jonas Gustavsson made one huge save with his right pad as he robbed former Maple Leaf Dominic Moore with 1:41 to go.
The other big save was courtesy of defenceman Francois Beauchemin's stick. After getting caught up ice, Beauchemin raced back and with a wide open net Beauchemin got his stick on the Nathan Horton shot to tip it over the net.
Games missed by John Mitchell with a knee injury as he returned against Florida.
Games without goals for Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Ice-time for Ian White who led all skaters on the night.
Leafs' record against the Southeast Division this year.
Wins for the Leafs against the Panthers this season.
A few Leafs including First Star Jonas Gustavsson were up for ths honour but it has to go to Nikolai Kulemin. The big-winger's improved play once again caused havoc for the Panthers.
With the score tied 2-2, Kulemin sped past Jason Garrison and he spectacularly set up Alexei Ponikarovsky's game winner. Kulemin was on the ice in the dying seconds as Ron Wilson shows tremendous confidence in the winger.
Tomas Kaberle went toe-to-toe with former blueline partner Bryan McCabe. While McCabe got the Panthers out to a 2-0 lead, it was Kaberle who fed Lee Stempniak to get the Leafs' first goal and Kaberle's goal in the second evened things up at 2-2.
Without Mike Komisarek in the lineup, Kaberle was paired with Luke Schenn and the two had solid games as the Leafs won for just the third time in eight games.
The Leafs' win over the Panthers began a busy stretch for them. They play four games in five nights and by beating the Panthers, it closes the gap between the two teams.
A big week with games against the Flyers and then two tough matchups against the Sabres and Penguins could see the Leafs vault closer in the playoff race.
Francois Beauchemin on his stick save:
"I guess it was a 3-on-1 and I was back checking hard. The guy threw it at the net and just desperately I put my stick on the puck and it went up in the air.”
Wednesday January 6 @ Flyers 7 PM ET (Sportsnet, AM640)
The Maple Leafs close out their back-to-back as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time this season.
The Flyers were expected to be one of the top teams this season but they have struggled mightily and that resulted in Peter Laviolette taking over as head coach from John Stevens.