Series (Game 1 of 4)

Florida leads 2-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 23rd
Maple Leafs1
Game 2: Wednesday, December 18th
Maple Leafs2Final
Game 3: Wednesday, February 5th
Maple Leafs6Final
Game 4: Monday, March 3rd
Maple Leafs1

Panthers 4

(3-3-1, 7 pts)

Maple Leafs 1

(2-5-0, 5 pts)

Coverage: TSN

7:30 PM ET, October 23, 2002

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
FLA 1 1 24
TOR 0 1 01

R. Luongo (Panthers - G): Saves: 30, Save Pct.: .968

O. Jokinen (Panthers - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

M. Nilson (Panthers - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Maple Leafs continue to struggle against Panthers

TORONTO (AP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs aren't ready to panic.

Olli Jokinen

Olli Jokinen scored twice and had an assist as the Florida Panthers beat the struggling Maple Leafs 4-1 on Wednesday night.

The Maple Leafs, booed throughout the third period, have won just two of their eight games.

"We know we have some skilled players,'' Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "We don't have many changes from last year when we had the third-best record in the league. What we have going on now is a little bit of fear. We are beating ourselves.''

Roberto Luongo made 30 saves for the Panthers, whose previous two wins came against the winless Atlanta Thrashers.

Florida held its opponent under four goals for just the second time this season.

After scoring 19 goals in its first five games, Toronto has been limited to four in its last three.

"We have to nip this thing sooner rather than later,'' Toronto's Tom Fitzgerald said. "We have a good team. We just need to get it together.''

Dmitry Yushkevich, playing his first game in Toronto since being traded to Florida, said his former team is too good for the slump to last.

"They are pretty much the same team as last year,'' Yushkevich said. "They are going through a rough period right now, but they have players likes Mats Sundin and leaders like Bryan McCabe in the dressing room. They are going to turn it around. When they start playing better nobody will be able to beat them.''

Valeri Bure and Marcus Nilson also scored for Florida.

Nilson's shorthanded goal at 6:51 of the third gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead. After a turnover by Toronto's Jonas Hoglund, Nilson skated around Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe and raced up the ice before beating Ed Belfour on a breakaway with a backhanded shot.

Jokinen added an empty-netter with 31 seconds left.

"It was a big game for Yushkevich,'' Jokinen said. "We talked about it before the game. We said 'Lets win it for him.'''

Bure poked in Jokinen's shot from the side of the net, giving Florida a 1-0 lead at 4:09 of the first.

After rookie defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo's shot trickled by Luongo, Nik Antropov pushed it across the line to tie it at 3:21 of the second.

After a Toronto turnover, Jokinen's slap shot beat Belfour on the power play, giving Florida a 2-1 lead at 14:57 of the second.

"When things are going bad, it seems like every mistake you make ends up in the net,'' McCabe said.

Belfour, signed to replace the departed Curtis Joseph as Toronto's No. 1 goalie, allowed three goals on 29 shots.

Belfour left the net with 1:30 remaining, but the Maple Leafs couldn't manage a shot on net despite the extra attacker.

Game notes

The Maple Leafs played the second game of a seven-game homestand. ... Yushkevich received an interference penalty just 17 seconds into game. ... Colaiacovo, who is from Toronto, made his NHL debut.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press