Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Florida Panthers Pick & Prediction MAY 10th 2023

Stadium: BB&T Center Sunrise
Logo Toronto Maple Leafs
Logo Florida Panthers

-1.5 +214
6.5o -123



The Florida Panthers are one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1996.

Florida leads the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 in their best-of-seven series, with Game 4 set for Wednesday on the Panthers' home ice at Sunrise, Fla.

The Panthers have won six straight playoff games, a franchise record.

"There's a lot of things going our way,'' Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said.

Indeed, this year has been a departure from the past quarter-century-plus of Panthers history. The Panthers went to the playoffs for the first time in 1996, in just their third season, and lost in the Stanley Cup Finals while electrifying their fan base.

Since then, however, they are just 2-6 in playoff series, and that includes this year's monumental upset of the top-seeded Boston Bruins.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has led the current charge as he has a .921 save percentage during this six-game winning streak. He has held Toronto to just two goals in each game of this series.

"You have to stay focused," Bobrovsky said, "and humble."

Offensively, Florida is led by Carter Verhaeghe, whose 12 career playoff goals are the most in Panthers history. Verhaeghe was drafted by his hometown team, the Leafs, in 2013, and he was with the organization until they traded him in 2017.

But it's not just Verhaeghe. Matthew Tkachuk leads Florida this year in playoff goals (five) and assists (10). Sam Reinhart, who scored the overtime goal in Florida's 3-2 win over Toronto on Sunday, is also a force along with other Panthers forwards such as Aleksander Barkov, Anthony Duclair and Sam Bennett.

Duclair, who missed 62 games in the regular season because of foot surgery, has two goals and three assists in nine playoff contests. His speed has made a difference.


Meanwhile, Toronto's top four scorers have been held without a goal against the Panthers. John Tavares, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner combined for 13 goals in Toronto's opening-round series win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tavares, who has torched Florida in the past, leads Toronto in this series with 16 scoring chances, but he hasn't hit the back of the net.

Marner said the Leafs have to forget about this poor stretch of three games.

"We have to know that it's do or die," Marner said of Game 4. "We have to be ready."

The Leafs now move forward with Joseph Woll in goal.

Starter Ilya Samsonov came away with an unspecified injury early in the second period Sunday. He was replaced by Woll, who has just 13 games of NHL experience.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Samsonov was "feeling better" Monday, but on Tuesday, Woll was named the starter for Game 4. Matt Murray, who hasn't played since April 2 (concussion), will back up the 24-year-old Woll.

Samsonov had a breakout regular season, posting career highs in starts (40), wins (27), save percentage (.919) and goals-against average (2.33).

Woll stopped 18 of 21 shots but the Leafs lost 3-2 in overtime in Game 3. He went 6-1 during the regular season.

Murray went 14-8-2 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .903 save percentage during the regular season.

-- Field Level Media

Toronto Maple Leafs
Florida Panthers

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Florida Panthers

William Nylander scored the go-ahead goal with 11:00 left in the third period, as the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Florida Panthers 5-3 on Thursday night at Sunrise, Fla.

The Leafs (34-23-8, 76 points) are battling for what could be the third and final playoff berth for Atlantic Division teams. The Panthers (33-25-6) are four points back of the Leafs.

Florida had won its two previous games against Toronto this season, 8-4 and then 5-3. In the latter game, Florida rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win, as Toronto did on Thursday.

Toronto also got goals from Zach Hyman, Kasperi Kapanen, Auston Matthews and Justin Holl (empty-netter). For Matthews, who also had an assist, it was his 44th goal of the season.

Florida got goals from Mark Pysyk, Mike Hoffman and Noel Acciari. Hoffman has a team-high 26 goals.

Frederik Andersen made 24 saves for Toronto. He was flawless after allowing three goals in the first 12-plus minutes.

Sergei Bobrovsky (24 saves) took the loss.

Each team got just nine shots on goal in the first, yet the wild period ended with six goals scored -- all at even strength. Florida led 3-1, but Toronto tied it 3-3 with two goals in the final 2:17.

Pysyk, a defenseman who had a hat trick against Toronto earlier this season, opened the scoring with just 2:23 elapsed as he buried a long rebound of an Aaron Ekblad shot. It was Pysyk's ninth goal of the season.

Hyman tied the score 69 seconds later, stuffing home his second rebound attempt after Matthews brilliantly flicked the puck toward the net while under duress.

Florida took a 2-1 lead on the rush as Hoffman rebounded a Frank Vatrano shot into an open side of the net at 7:25.

Acciari made it 3-1 on his bad-angle shot from the right side that rang in off the far post at the 12:36 mark.

Then, just as the period's only power play had expired for Toronto, the Leafs -- still on the attack -- got a goal on Kapanen's wrist shot.

Toronto tied the score with 62 seconds left on an All-Star effort by Matthews. He dumped the puck in, chased it down, forced a turnover and skated to the crease to tap in a rebound.

Nylander's go-ahead goal came on a long rebound, as he spun around and scored just inside the near post. Holl's empty-netter came with just 21 seconds left.

--Field Level Media