EditorsNote: update 2: changes to “2013-14” in second graf
Vincent Trocheck, playing for the first time since he fractured his right ankle on Nov. 19, earned an assist and helped the host Florida Panthers snap a seven-game losing streak, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla.
This had been Florida’s longest skid since they lost nine in a row in the 2013-14 season.
Trocheck, a 2017 All-Star who scored 54 goals over the past two seasons, missed 27 games. He had played all 82 games in each of the two previous seasons.
Mike Hoffman, Mike Matheson and Frank Vatrano scored for Florida. Hoffman leads the Panthers this season with 23 goals.
Ron Hainsey scored Toronto’s goal, his fourth of the season.
Roberto Luongo earned the win, making 20 saves.
Toronto backup goalie Garret Sparks, who made 26 stops, took the loss as the Leafs played road games on consecutive nights following Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Panthers defenseman Josh Brown made his NHL debut on Friday, one day after he was recalled from the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League. Brown did not register a point, but he got 10:54 of ice time.
The Leafs needed just 109 seconds to get on the board as Hainsey scored on a one-timer from the blueline after taking a set-up pass from defenseman Morgan Rielly. Kasperi Kapanen picked up the secondary assist.
Florida tied the score with 9:02 expired in the first period. The Panthers got two players in the crease area, and Hoffman was able to redirect Keith Yandle’s shot from the point. With that much traffic, Sparks had no chance. Nick Bjugstad added a secondary assist.
The Panthers took a 2-1 lead with 14:59 gone in the first as Trocheck’s pass opened it up for a Matheson drive — just his third goal this season. Jonathan Huberdeau had the secondary assist.
Vatrano sealed the Panthers victory with an empty-net goal with 1:46 left in the game. Mark Pysyk got the assist.
—Field Level Media