Rushing up the standings, Maple Leafs visit Panthers

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The Sports Network
2/18/2013 3:52:09 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will head into Florida charging up the standings and looking for a win against the Panthers tonight. The Leafs are coming off a 3-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Making his second straight start in place of James Reimer (knee), Ben Scrivens posted 34 saves for his first career shutout.

"So much of the credit obviously goes to the team," said Scrivens. "You can ask any goalie and they'll tell you that a shutout is a team stat. You don't get it on your own and I'm extremely thankful to the guys for playing hard for me."

The undrafted 26-year-old is 3-3-0 with a 2.23 goals against average and .927 save percentage in seven games (6 starts) this season.

Frazer McLaren, John-Michael Liles and Tyler Bozak each scored for the Maple Leafs, who had a four-game winning streak halted with a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

"You're going to have tough games now and then, but we bounced back from the Carolina loss," said Bozak. "The guys are all real happy with the effort tonight and we're really happy to get Ben that shutout."

Maple Leafs defenceman Carl Gunnarsson, who has missed the past eight games with a hip injury, was activated off Injured Reserve Monday. Head coahc Randy Carlyle said that Gunnarsson would be available to the team "very soon" and could even get in tonight's lineup against Florida.

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen meanwhile, knows that getting one point at a time will only take his club so far.

The Panthers will try to secure their first victory in five games taking on the streaking Maple Leafs, who have struggled in this series as of late.

It has been a silver lining two-plus weeks for the Panthers, who have lost five of their past eight but have points in seven of those games. They are 3-1-4 in that stretch, but have dropped four straight, including three in a row in overtime.

Florida got third-period goals from Tomas Kopecky and Jonathan Huberdeau to take a lead on Saturday over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but yielded the game- tying goal with 11 seconds left in regulation before suffering a 6-5 setback.

"We're just not finishing," Dineen said. "You're not going to get in the playoffs with 48 points. You can't try to get a point a game; it's just not going to work. We've got to find a way a more complete effort and end up with two points."

Jake Skille, Shawn Matthias and Jerred Smithson added goals and Jose Theodore made 30 saves for the Panthers, who wrap a four-game homestand on Monday. They have been without forward Kris Versteeg for the past two games of the residency because of an upper body injury.

Florida will look to halt its skid on Monday and pick up a sixth straight victory over the Maple Leafs, who the Panthers outscored 20-9 in sweeping last season's four-game series.

The Panthers have won eight of the last 10 encounters while the Maple Leafs have dropped five straight in Florida, having not won there since Nov. 27, 2009.

Toronto is two points out of first place in the Northeast Division, while reigning division champion Florida is five points off the pace in the Southeast.



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