The Panthers certainly found the Toronto Maple Leafs a lot tougher to play in Toronto than they did in Florida.
Auston Matthews had two goals and two assists, John Tavares scored twice and Morgan Rielly had four assists as the Leafs rolled past the Panthers 6-1 at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday night, five days after losing to the Panthers in Sunrise.
The Maple Leafs improved to 7-0-1 in their past eight home games and beat Florida at home for the sixth consecutive time. Toronto also improved to a perfect 15-0 when having the lead after the first period.
They took that first period lead when Matthews opened the scoring on the power play late in the first period. He took a cross ice pass from Marner and left alone in front, slapped a shot into an empty side of the net past Roberto Luongo at 18:21 for the only goal of the opening period.
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Toronto went ahead 2-0 at 3:50 of the second period when Matthews took a pass from Rielly and one-timed a shot from the faceoff circle past Luongo for his 19th goal of the season.
The Maple Leafs had a goal disallowed a few minutes later when referees ruled Nazem Kadri kicked a shot past Luongo from the crease, but Kadri later scored one that counted.
Kadri finished off a two-on-one break by taking a pass from Connor Brown and slapping a shot past Luongo at 11:14 for his ninth goal of the season, putting Toronto ahead 3-0 after two periods of play.
Toronto continued to pour it on in the third period, chasing Luongo from the game.
John Tavares made it 4-0 on the power play at 2:38, backhanding a shot off a rebound past Luongo from the side of the crease, and he added another goal at 5:41, taking a behind-the-net pass from Marner and driving a shot from the faceoff circle.
Luongo departed after that goal, replaced by James Reimer.
Florida avoided the shutout when Henrik Borgstrom scored his first goal of the season at 10:28 past a screened Frederik Andersen to make it 5-1 on the power play, but that was all the offense the Panthers could muster on this night.
Marner completed the scoring at 15:14, taking a pass from Matthews and slipping a shot under Reimer from the faceoff circle, the Leafs’ third power-play goal of the night in as many chances.
Both teams had 26 shots, with Luongo allowing five goals on just 22 shots. Andersen made 25 saves for the Maple Leafs.
The Panthers travel to Detroit for a Saturday matinee against the Red Wings, and the Leafs play host to the New York Rangers on Saturday night.