Thomas leads Panthers past Maple Leafs 4-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 4, 2014 at 11:49 pm •  Published: February 4, 2014
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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — It took a trip to sunny South Florida to cool off the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tim Thomas made 20 saves, Brian Campbell had two assists and the Florida Panthers beat Toronto 4-1 on Tuesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Maple Leafs had won three straight in frigid Toronto and were 9-1-1 in their last 11 coming into the game.

Tom Gilbert, Jesse Winchester, Shawn Matthias and Marcel Goc scored for the Panthers.

David Clarkson had the goal for Toronto, and Jonathan Bernier stopped 44 shots.

Florida made it 3-1 with 6:38 left when Matthias' wrist shot from the right circle beat Bernier on the short side. Goc added an empty-net goal with 2:30 remaining.

Every skater on the Panthers had at least one shot on goal.

"It was probably our best game of the year," Matthias said. "It was an exciting game for us."

Toronto closed to 2-1 on Clarkson's goal in the third period following a turnover by Tomas Kopecky in the Maple Leafs zone. Nazem Kadri stole the puck from Kopecky and passed to Clarkson, who beat Thomas at 9:31.

"When you score a goal like that and you have a couple shifts where you're moving the puck and getting the puck into their zone, we've shown we're a team that can come back from that," said Clarkson, who returned to the lineup after missing eight games with an elbow injury. "We didn't come to play right away tonight."

Just when it appeared the Maple Leafs might make a comeback, the Panthers scored twice on Matthias' goal and then the empty-netter.

"I think it was pretty solid," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. "Even when there was down time and the game was going the other way, momentum shift, we took it back pretty quickly."

The Panthers stretched their lead to 2-0 on Winchester's goal at 5:21 of the third. Scott Gomez made a drop pass to Campbell and his shot from the right circle deflected off Winchester and over Bernier into the top of the net.

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