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Raycroft sharp with 39 saves to lead Leafs to 3-2 win over Panthers

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Andrew Raycroft stopped 39 shots and the Maple Leafs defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Thursday night. "I feel good," Raycroft said. "Yeah, there were 40-something shots but I was able to see them. "I'd rather have a lot of pucks and get warm moving instead of standing around getting cold."

Boyd Devereaux, Chad Kilger and John Pohl scored for the Leafs, who won for the third time in six games.

Gregory Campbell and Ville Peltonen scored for Florida, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.

Alex Auld gave up three goals on just 14 shots and was replaced at the start of the third period by Ed Belfour. Belfour finished with five saves.

Pohl's unassisted goal at 10:41 of the second gave Toronto a 3-0 lead. He tried to centre the puck from the left of the net but the puck went behind Auld and trickled in off his pad.

Florida pulled to 3-1 on Campbell's goal at 1:12 of the third. Joel Kwiatkowski took a shot from above the left circle near the blue-line and Campbell got a piece of the puck before it went into the net.

The Panthers closed to 3-2 on Peltonen's goal at 10:08. Stephen Weiss shot from the right circle and Peltonen deflected the puck past Raycroft.

"We had chances before the third to make it a different game," Peltonen said. "We came all out in the third but it wasn't enough today.

"Close, but not enough."

The Leafs were outshot 41-19.

"They really threw it at us," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "We were taking on water but our goaltender was making some saves.

"We got a road win. They needed that game."

The Panthers thought they might have tied the score with 28 seconds left in the game when the puck bounced in off Raycroft but a video review found that Florida's Martin Gelinas redirected the puck with his hand.

"We played a great third period but came up short," Gelinas said. "This time of the year we're chasing this team to make the playoffs.

"It's very unfortunate."

Toronto took a 1-0 lead at 12:14 of the first period. After Kilger dug the puck out from behind the net, it came in front of the crease and Devereaux sent it in over Auld's shoulder.

The Leafs made it 2-0 at 5:59 of the second as Kilger took a pass from Matt Stajan near the left circle and sent a shot between Auld's legs.

"It's always nice to contribute," Kilger said. "Our line has good chemistry and I'm really comfortable and playing solid."

Notes: Toronto D Pavel Kubina got hit in the head with a puck in the second period but returned to the game in the third . . . Maple Leafs RW Darcy Tucker missed his seventh game with a foot injury . . . Florida LW David Booth missed the game with an upper body injury.


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