Game #56: Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs Preview

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 17: Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs battles for the puck with Sean Bergenheim #20 of the Florida Panthers during NHL game action December 17, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Maple Leafs look to even the season series in a “should mean 2 points” meeting against the 27th-place Florida Panthers. A win would give the Leafs eight victories and an OT loss in their last 10.

The first game featured some spells of brutal hockey by this team in a 3-1 loss, but interestingly that was one of only nine games (out of 55) in which the Leafs outshot their opponent (29-23). An early goal against (Fleischmann, after the Kadri turnover and bad Phaneuf pinch) maybe altered the course of the game as far as the shot count went.

Revisit the game in six and it is apparent even in the abbreviated version how messy of a game the Leafs played last time out versus the Panthers:

Scott Clemmensen was also sharp in turning away 28 of 29 shots. Clemmensen’s only played one game this month, but head coach Peter Horacheck seems aware of his history against the Leafs (.943 save percentage over six games) as he will start again tonight. Jonathan Bernier will mind the nets for the Leafs.

It just seems like a Leafs thing to do to light up an assemblage of goalies that includes Rask, Price, Bishop, Miller and Varlamov before getting stonewalled by Scott Clemmensen. Let’s hope the Leafs make Clemmensen look like the career backup he is, for once, en route to two points.

The Leafs should remember that going down 3-0 by the early third against this team, on home ice, was pretty embarrassing. That should negate any chance of underestimating this Panthers team tonight.

No lineup changes are anticipated from Tuesday’s win over Tampa Bay.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers Results

2011-12 season:Tue Nov 8 2011at TorFlorida 5, Toronto 1
2011-12 season:Tue Dec 27 2011at FloFlorida 5, Toronto 3
2011-12 season:Tue Feb 28 2012at TorFlorida 5, Toronto 3
2011-12 season:Tue Mar 13 2012at FloFlorida 5, Toronto 2
2012-13 season:Mon Feb 18 2013at FloToronto 3, Florida 0
2012-13 season:Tue Mar 26 2013at TorToronto 3, Florida 2
2012-13 season:Thu Apr 25 2013at FloToronto 4, Florida 0
2013-14 season:Tue Dec 17 2013at TorFlorida 3, Toronto 1

Interesting patterns of results against Florida in the past few seasons. In 2011-12, the Leafs were swept in the season series, conceding five goals in each of four meetings (combined score of 20-9 Florida). Last season, the Leafs swept the Panthers with three wins and a combined score of 10-2.

Carlyle’s Game Day Presser: