toronto maple leafs playoffs florida panthers

Florida tightens playoff series lead as Leafs lose again

The Toronto Maple Leafs got their dream start in Game 2, but it wasn't enough as the Florida Panthers won 3-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the second-round series.

Gustav Forsling scored the winning goal in the second period after the two teams exchanged hot starts throughout the first two frames.

The Maple Leafs scored twice in the first six minutes of the game, while Florida rebounded at the end of the first and the start of the second to take a 3-2 lead which they carried into the third.

Toronto rookie Matthew Knies was forced to leave the game after the first period with an injury sustained when Florida forward Sam Bennett took him to the ice in a headlock. The Leafs announced that Knies wouldn't return for the second period.

No further update was immediately available.

The Leafs didn't wait long to open the scoring in the opening frame, finding a goal just 2:20 into the game when Alex Kerfoot jumped on a rebound off Luke Schenn's point shot, sliding the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky for the early lead.

It took 5,432 days since the Leafs drafted Schenn in 2008 for him to score his first playoff points for the club. Of course, he also won two Stanley Cups during that time with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Toronto's quick start didn't stop there either, as after going 1-for-9 on their previous nine power plays, the Leafs connected on a man advantage, as Mitch Marner spun before finding a pass to Ryan O'Reilly, who fired a one-time shot into the goal.

Yet, the chaotic first period continued, with Florida getting on the board with Sam Reinhart setting up Anton Lundell to beat Ilya Samsonov to cut the lead in half.

While Toronto's start powered them to an early lead, the second-period collapse stole all the good times for Leafs fans. Just 18 seconds into the frame, Aleksander Barkov floated a puck over Samsonov's glove to tie the game, only for Gustav Forsling to fire the Panthers into the 3-2 lead moments later.

On the second goal, Matthew Tkachuk picked up his ninth assist of the playoffs, bringing him up to 15 points, second in the NHL's postseason.

While the Leafs started the game well and got some positive performances, with Marner and John Tavares putting five shots on goal, it wasn't enough for the group to win their first second-round game in 19 years.

The Leafs will head down to Sunrise, Florida, for Game 3 on Sunday as they look to avoid falling three games behind in the series.

Lead photo by

Twitter/Florida Panthers

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