TORONTO (AP) — Jussi Jokinen wasn’t trying to score on either of his two goals. Both times, though, the puck somehow found the net.
Jokinen scored two unusual goals to help lift the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night. Two of his passing attempts pinged off Toronto sticks and beat Jonathan Bernier, who made his third straight start in goal.
"It’s too bad," said Bernier, who stopped every one of the remaining 28 Florida shots he faced. "Two unfortunate goals that we try to make the good play, stick on puck, and it ends up in the back of the net."
Jaromir Jagr and Teddy Purcell added empty-net goals for the Panthers, who won for the fourth time in five games. Florida is three wins from matching its franchise record of 43.
"We’ve got some big games ahead of us, so we didn’t want to overlook this one and look ahead," Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo said. "They’re a tough team to play against. They’re quick, they’re hungry and they play well defensively. … They made us earn it tonight."
Morgan Rielly scored for the Leafs, who had a two-game win streak snapped.
"Two goals that are pretty lucky," Rielly said. "I don’t think that they would argue that. But that’s just the way the game goes. They played well. They played with speed and they generated those chances."
Jokinen opened the scoring 24 seconds into the second period when his passing attempt to Vincent Trocheck deflected off the stick of Leafs forward Ben Smith. Toronto used its 15th coach’s challenge — tied for the league lead — and claimed Florida was offside. But, the goal was confirmed by video review.
Jokinen added his second goal of the night and 15th of the season about nine minutes later when his pass from behind the goal line went off the stick of Leafs defenseman Connor Carrick and into the net.
Rielly brought the Leafs to within one late in the second, sneaking an innocent-looking shot past Luongo from high in the slot. It was the 22-year-old’s eighth goal of the year, matching a career high.
Both teams had decent chances in a scoreless opening frame.
Michael Grabner broke free of the Panthers defense, but was stopped by Luongo, the NHL’s active wins leader who made 32 saves. Toronto rookie Zach Hyman redirected Jake Gardiner’s point shot a few minutes later, but was also turned aside by Luongo.
Florida’s best chance early came from Jagr. The 44-year-old star, who recently passed Gordie Howe for sole possession of third on the NHL’s career scoring list, got to a rebound but had his shot stopped by Bernier’s right pad.
NOTES: Connor Brown became the 10th Maple Leafs player to make his NHL debut. A sixth-round pick, Brown was recalled on an emergency basis to replace Leo Komarov, who was hurt in Toronto’s win over Tampa earlier this week. … It was the Panthers’ second win in as many meetings with the Leafs this season. Florida beat Toronto 5-1 on Jan. 26.