The Toronto Maple Leafs won their first game away from the Air Canada Centre in 2015 on Wednesday night, ending a franchise record 16-game losing streak on the road with a 3–2 win over the Florida Panthers.
Both Florida goaltenders suffered injuries during the game. Starter Roberto Luongo left after the first period with a shoulder injury and backup Álvaro Montoya was brought down with a groin strain early in the third period.
A prolonged break followed Montoya’s injury while the Panthers scrambled to find a replacement. Montoya would continue to play for a few minutes before Luongo returned to play out the game for Florida.
“He stuck his neck out there for us. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but you see he was in pain,” said Panthers forward Brandon Pirri about goaltender Luongo’s return. “But he went back in there. He’s a tough guy. You’ve got to give him credit for helping the boys out,”
Peter Holland took advantage of an ailing Montoya before Luongo could make his return, knocking a rebound past Montoya with 14:32 remaining to break the 2–2 tie.
“I think if he was feeling 100 percent he would have gotten across the net there,” Holland said. “That’s not typical Montoya, he’s usually pretty quick along the bottom there.
Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier made 40 out of a possible 42 saves in the victory, improving his record to 19-19-5.
Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak scored the Leafs’ first two goals of the contest.
Aaron Ekblad set a Florida franchise record when he scored his 11th goal of the season in the second period, the most of any rookie defender since Panthers legend Ed Jovanovski scored 10 in his debut season in 1995–96.
Florida’s red-hot forward Pirri opened scoring in the game with his 9th goal in his past 12 appearances.
Newly acquired forward Joakim Lindstrom made his first appearance for the Leafs, playing on the fourth line alongside Trevor Smith and Zack Sill. The Leafs added Lindstrom to the team on Monday’s trade deadline, coming from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Olli Jokinen.
The Leafs are back in action tomorrow night, taking on another Sunshine State opponent in the Tampa Bay Lightning.