SUNRISE, Fla. – Finally, the Florida Panthers got an easy win.
Sergei Samsonov and Stephen Weiss each had a goal and an assist, and Scott Clemmensen stopped 24 shots for his first shutout of the season to help the Florida Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 Thursday night.
Florida’s last 11 wins since Jan. 2 all were by one goal.
“It’s a really nice win for us,” Weiss said. “With the group we have in here, I thought it was probably the most complete game we’ve played together. I thought all in all, from five-on-five to special teams, we were really good tonight.”
Mike Santorelli also scored for the Panthers and Keaton Ellerby added an empty-netter with 3:24 left.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, making his first start since Feb. 16, stopped 22 shots for the Leafs.
“I wish I would have felt better,” Giguere said. “There were some good parts and some parts I wish I could get back.”
Toronto came into the game in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, trailing eighth-place Buffalo by four points and Carolina by two.
“We didn’t have our legs,” Leafs winger Clarke MacArthur said. “We’re a team that can skate well. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Rookie James Reimer had started the last 13 games for the Leafs, the longest streak for a Toronto rookie goaltender since Peter Ing started 19 straight in 1990-91.
The Leafs were shut out for the 11th time this season, the first since they lost 1-0 in a shootout against Ottawa on Feb. 19.
The shutout was the sixth of Clemmensen’s career and his first since his only one last season.
“My first shutout of the year last year came on April 1 and I remember saying at that time, I wish it would have come a little earlier than April and I wish this one would have come a little earlier than mid-March here,” Clemmensen said. “But it is what it is. It’s always nice to get shutouts. It’s a team effort, it’s a team thing, and everyone played great tonight.”
Clemmensen’s best saves came in the second period. He extended his left leg to stop Joey Crabb’s shot early in the period, and later kicked out his right pad to stop Joffrey Lupul’s deflection.
The teams split their four-game season series, with the home team winning every time.
The Panthers came into the game ranked 29th in the league on the power play, but went 2 for 2 against the Leafs.
“We were sharp tonight (on the power play),” Weiss said. “We moved the puck around, we had good zone time. We shot the puck. We won a lot of loose puck rebounds. For whatever reason, we were just on tonight, we were clicking and that was the difference in the game, special teams.”
After a scoreless first period, Samsonov got Florida on the board just 49 seconds into the second when he tipped in Jason Garrison’s slap shot from the point.
Weiss made it 2-0 at 5:11 with Toronto’s Nikolai Kulemin in the penalty box for hooking. After a Toronto player lost his stick, Weiss fired a wrist shot from just outside the right faceoff dot that beat Giguere through traffic.
Santorelli added to the lead at 9:40 of the second with Dion Phaneuf serving a kneeing penalty. After taking a pass from Samsonov, Santorelli fired a shot from a sharp angle and then put home his own rebound.
“I’m glad it’s not a one-goal game, that’s for sure,” Florida coach Pete DeBoer said. “It was nice. I was glad for the guys. We’ve got a lot of kids up here that are competing real hard and trying to do the right thing. In Toronto’s defence, we got them (after) an emotional win after the Carolina game, but we did our job and jumped on them and took advantage of it.”
NOTES: The Panthers beat the New York Rangers 3-0 Jan. 2. … The Panthers have scored two or more power-play goals eight times this season, including three against Toronto. … Maple Leafs D Mike Komisarek missed the game because of a lower-body injury sustained in Wednesday’s victory at Carolina. … A moment of silence was observed before the game in honour of longtime Panthers scout Luke Williams, who was killed in a car accident Tuesday night.