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Panthers try to keep recent surge going vs. Maple Leafs

(SportsNetwork.com) - The suddenly-surging Florida Panthers will take aim at a fourth consecutive victory when they visit the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs for Tuesday's clash at Air Canada Centre.

With wins in each of its past three outings, Florida is on its longest winning streak of the season. The club also has earned victories in five of its last six outings, giving the Panthers a 9-8-1 record since firing head coach Kevin Dineen in early November and replacing him with interim coach Peter Horachek.

Despite the recent surge Florida is still sitting seventh out of eight teams in the Atlantic Division, where it trails sixth-place Ottawa by five points.

All three wins on Florida's current streak have come by one-goal margins. The Panthers earned consecutive home shootout wins over Detroit and Washington before beginning a four-game road trip with Sunday's 2-1 regulation triumph over Montreal.

Scott Clemmensen made 17 saves for a Panthers team that survived a frantic finish to earn the recent win against the Canadiens. Florida entered the third period with a 2-0 lead, but Alex Galchenyuk scored a power-play goal 2:28 into the third period to cut the deficit in half. However, the Panthers were able to hold on the rest of the way to notch their first three-game winning streak since March 28-April 2 of last season.

Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad both scored in the second period for Florida.

"That was a pretty concerted effort to keep the puck out of our end," said Panthers head coach Peter Horachek. "You saw the character there when they're blocking shots. That's when you know your team is doing the right kind of thing."

The close victory improved Florida's road record this season to 5-10-2. The Panthers will continue the swing Thursday in Ottawa before completing the trip the following night in Winnipeg.

Jonathan Huberdeau missed Sunday's game due to a bruised foot and last season's Calder Trophy winner is questionable for the Panthers on Tuesday. Defenseman Erik Gudbranson also could miss tonight's tilt with a lower-body injury suffered in Sunday's win.

Florida will try to halt a three-game losing streak in the series against Toronto. The Maple Leafs have claimed three of the last five encounters at Air Canada Centre.

Although Toronto posted an impressive 7-3 win in Saturday's home game against Chicago, the Maple Leafs lost for the fourth time in five tilts with Monday's 3-1 setback in Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal with 6:03 to play for the Penguins, who beat Toronto despite playing without Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Kris Letang.

Morgan Rielly scored the lone goal for the Maple Leafs, while Jonathan Bernier allowed two goals on 30 shots in the loss.

"I don't think we played well in the first period, but we seemed to get our skating together in the second period," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle. "But in the third period we made some mistakes and it cost us the game."

Toronto fell to 6-8-3 on the road after Monday's loss, but the club is kicking off a three-game stay at Air Canada Centre tonight and is 11-7-0 as the host this season. The Leafs will play five of six games on home ice to close out December.

12/17 11:00:34 ET

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Schedule

Saturday, April 19Full Scoreboard
Chicago 4/19 3:00 PM ET
St. Louis @theRink | TV: NBC, CBC, RDS
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. St. Louis leads series, 1-0.
Columbus 4/19 7:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh NBC, CBC, RDS
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Pittsburgh leads series, 1-0.
Minnesota 4/19 9:30 PM ET
Colorado NBCSN, TSN, Altitude
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Colorado leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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NOR
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