Kubina’s OT goal snaps Maple Leafs’ 3-game losing streak, 2-1 over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—The Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to win a close game.
Toronto’s previous two losses were by one goal, and the Leafs allowed a goal in the last minute of regulation in each game.
“It was tough those two games, but we still were playing good hockey,” Kubina said. “Especially before Christmas, it s going to be great, a couple of days without hockey, but then we have to start thinking about the next one.”
Kubina’s goal was his second of the season and first since Oct. 27 against the Islanders.
He scored on a 4-on-3, with assists from Mats Sundin and Tomas Kaberle, after Florida’s Richard Zednik was called for slashing at 18:45 of the third period. Kubina beat Tomas Vokoun with a slap shot from the right point.
“I got a new stick five minutes beforehand,” Kubina said. “A great play by Mats and Kaby. It gave me so much time. They took the left side away and I just shot it on net.”
The Panthers weren’t happy about the call on Zednik, who broke his stick as he went to check Kaberle in the offensive zone.
Zednik declined to talk to reporters after the game.
Panthers coach Jacques Martin said, “I’ll let you talk about it. I’d rather not talk about it.”
Kyle Wellwood also scored for Toronto, which improved to 2-3 on its franchise record-tying, seven-game road trip. Kaberle and Sundin each had two assists.
Olli Jokinen scored for the Panthers, who had won three straight.
All three goals were scored on the power play.
“It was a pretty even game 5-on-5,” Jokinen said. “They got two goals on their power play and we got one. Last five minutes with a couple of penalties there, it’s a tough way to lose.”
Vesa Toskala stopped 29 shots for the Leafs. Vokoun made 29 saves for Florida.
Toronto almost broke the 1-1 tie midway through the third period, but Vokoun made a spectacular pad save on Nik Antropov’s one-timer off Sundin’s pass.
Wellwood opened the scoring 5:18 in when he snapped an 11-game goal drought. Wellwood took a pass from Sundin at the side of the Florida net and moved to the front before beating Vokoun with a wrist shot over his left shoulder.
“I knew going into Christmas it would feel nice to get a goal,” Wellwood said. “There’s a lot of guys who need to start scoring more, and I’m one of them.”
Toskala preserved Toronto’s lead until the final minute of the second period. He robbed Brett McLean with a glove save as the puck was about to cross the goal line in the air. The play was reviewed, and replay confirmed Toskala stopped the puck before it went in.
“It brought a smile to everybody’s face,” Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. “That was something else. I don’t think anybody expected to see it. It wasn’t one of those where he just shoots it into the guy’s glove.”
Jokinen beat Toskala with 19.2 seconds left in the second period after intercepting a clearing attempt at the blue line. Jokinen skated in with the puck before firing a slap shot that beat Toskala through a crowd.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game,” Martin said. “It’s the kind of game they’ve been in lately and the kind of game we’ve been in. It’s unfortunate we lost it in overtime.”
Florida LW David Booth missed his sixth consecutive game because of a bruised knee. … Florida was called for two penalties for too many men on the ice in the second period. … Toronto has had seven-game road trips six previous times, the last in January 1999. … Wellwood’s previous goal was scored Nov. 24 at Phoenix. … Florida coach Jacques Martin is still at 496 career victories, one shy of Glen Sather for 10th place on the NHL career list.