Toronto Maple Leafs earn historic win over Florida Panthers

Mitch Marner #16 and William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Mitch Marner #16 and William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

After a tough battle against Florida Panthers, the Toronto Maple Leafs established several new franchise records with five more games still to play.

The Florida Panthers entered the Air Canada Centre desperate for a win to stay in the playoff hunt, while the Toronto Maple Leafs looked to inch closer to clinching a playoff spot.

The Leafs took a big step towards their goal with a 4-3 victory on Wednesday night, while the Panthers missed out on a chance to take advantage of their games in hand.

Mike Babcock has always stressed to his team that they need to “start on time” and they did just that. The Leafs exploded in the first period, scoring three goals and quickly establishing their dominance in possession as well.

Throughout the game, the Panthers pushed back and almost tied the game, but Frederik Andersen stood on his head and made some spectacular saves.

The win broke numerous franchise records including:

  1. Most wins in a single season (46)
  2. Most home wins in a single season (27)
  3. Nazem Kadri and Auston Matthews are the first Leafs centres to get back-to-back 30-goal seasons.

Here are some personal records that got broken:

  1. Andersen won his 36th game this season, which is a single-season record for the franchise.
  2. Patrick Marleau is now 33rd on the all-time goals list and recorded his 13th season with 25 or more goals.
  3. Mitch Marner reached a career-high 10-game point streak (4G, 9A)

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Marner was by far the team’s most dominant player on Wednesday night. He created so many chances for his teammates with his speed and skill, but also made a stellar defensive play that saved a goal for the Leafs. His line was key in trying to limit Aleksander Barkov‘s potent offence and made the most of their chances early in the game.

Roman Polak‘s game has really improved lately and that continues to be positive news for the Leafs. He is delivering hard hits without getting caught out of position and is quickly moving the puck out of his own zone. He plays with the edge that gives the Leafs some much-needed physicality, while avoiding unnecessary penalties.

Last season, Polak was not great early, but near the end and during the playoffs he was a beast. Hopefully, he has fully recovered from his horrific leg injury and is entering full beast mode in time for the playoffs. People might not like him, but him playing well is understandably better for the team.

This was a bounce-back game that the team needed after a tough loss to the Buffalo Sabres, which was another game they dominated. Considering the Panthers’ desperate situation, it should be encouraging to see he Leafs go toe-to-toe with a team that was not going to go down easily.

With the Philadelphia Flyers’ win over the Colorado Avalanche, the Leafs will have to wait to clinch a berth in the playoffs.

Next: Roman Polak deserves his Masterton nomination

Who’s performance stood out the most to you? Let us know your thoughts on the game in the comments below.