May 24th, 2024

Panthers beat Maple Leafs 5-2, clinch Atlantic Division title

By Colby Guy, The Associated Press on April 16, 2024.

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart scored 10 seconds apart midway through the second period, and the Florida Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Tuesday night.

With the victory and Boston’s 3-1 loss to Ottawa, Florida clinched the Atlantic Division title. The Panthers (52-24-6) finished with the season with a four-game win streak to make up a five-point deficit in the standings.

Carter Verhaeghe and Brandon Montour also scored for Florida, and Anthony Stolarz made 24 saves.

The Panthers will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round of the playoffs.

Mitchell Marner and Noah Gregor scored for the Maple Leafs (46-25-10), and Joseph Woll made 37 stops.

Toronto is locked into the Atlantic Division’s third seed and will play Boston in the first round of the playoffs.

Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews remains at 69 goals, albeit he had several chances to increase that number on Tuesday. He will have one more chance to become the first player since 1992-93 to score 70 goals in a season when the Maple Leafs take on the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

Verhaeghe opened the scoring for Florida in his first game since sustaining an upper-body injury that had kept him out of the lineup since April 1.

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

Panthers: Prepare for Game 1 of the NHL playoffs.

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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