Kadri gets hat trick, Maple Leafs beat Panthers 5-2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Nazem Kadri’s hat trick kept the Florida Panthers from jumping into first place.
Kadri scored two of his three goals during second-period power plays and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Panthers 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Florida remains in a tie with Tampa Bay atop the Atlantic Division but the Lightning hold the tiebreaker. Tampa Bay beat the Leafs 3-0 on Monday night to force that tie at 93 points.
Kadri had scored just twice in the last 14 games, both coming last week against Anaheim, but he didn’t doubt his game.
“That’s the good thing about playing in the NHL, you get a chance to redeem yourself pretty quick, even though sometimes these back-to-backs are pretty challenging, especially against two good Florida teams,” said Kadri, who posted his third career hat trick.
“We just found a way to win.”
Michael Grabner and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau also scored for Toronto, and Connor Brown had three assists.
Playing their third game in four nights, Toronto scored a short-handed goal to open the game and added three power-play goals.
The Maple Leafs were 0 for 7 in Tampa on Monday and in a 3-for-32 slump with the man-advantage.
Kadri scored his 15th goal for a 2-1 Toronto lead on a power-play rebound at 10:36 of the second. He added another score on the man-advantage by patiently backhanding in a shot at 18:14.
Parenteau scored his 19th goal at 6:34 of the third on the power play for a 4-1 lead.
“Our power play was clicking,” said Parenteau, who recorded his 100th career goal. “We were moving it. I thought we had some great looks. We really took it to them, and (the power play) played a real big role in this game.”
Kadri scored into an empty net with 2:39 remaining.
“Their special teams were great tonight,” Florida coach Gerard Gallant said. “They scored some real nice goals. We didn’t look good tonight.
“We weren’t executing at the top of our game. I thought the 5-on-5 play for most part was real good, but we just didn’t execute on special teams.”
Jonathan Huberdeau and Greg McKegg scored for the Panthers.
Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier made 32 saves. Roberto Luongo had 24 for Florida.
After missing a breakaway wide earlier on the penalty kill, Grabner scored his eighth off a 2-on-1 pass from Brown at 15:11 for the only goal of the first period.
The goal ended a drought of over 118 minutes by Toronto, which had last scored against Boston on Saturday.
It was Toronto’s second short-handed goal and the fifth allowed by Florida.
Florida’s Vincent Trocheck, who sparked the team with road wins in Boston and Tampa, left midway through the second period after taking a shot from Brown.
Huberdeau knotted the game 1-1 when he led a 2-on-1 and wristed his 16th goal through Bernier’s pads at 6:23 of the second.
McKegg scored his first NHL goal at 11:26 of the third on a rebound.
NOTES: The Maple Leafs snapped a two-game losing streak but improved their record to just 3-8-0 against Florida in their last 11 meetings. ... Toronto next plays Thursday night at Buffalo. ... Gallant was coaching his 300th game for Florida. He is 136-129-4-30 for his career and 80-54-with the Panthers. ... Florida will host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.