Toronto goaltender Joseph Woll stops Florida’s Sam Reinhart during the second period of Game 4 Wednesday night in Sunrise, Fla. Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

SUNRISE, Fla. — Joseph Woll stopped 24 shots in his first playoff start, Mitch Marner and William Nylander had the goals and the Toronto Maple Leafs staved off elimination by beating the Florida Panthers 2-1 in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Wednesday night.

Nylander was the beneficiary of an odd bounce for a power-play score in the second period, Marner scored midway through the third and Woll did the rest as he took the place of injured starter Ilya Samsonov.

Sam Reinhart scored for Florida, which got 23 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky. The Panthers still lead the series 3-1, with Game 5 in Toronto on Friday night.

Woll, who turns 25 on July 12, was bidding to become the youngest Toronto goalie to have a playoff shutout since Felix Potvin — then 23 — stopped 42 shots to beat Chicago 3-0 on May 9, 1995.

He was 7:47 away from pulling it off.

Reinhart — who had the OT winner in Game 3 — took a quick pass from Matthew Tkachuk and found a way to just get the puck through Woll’s leg pads for a power-play score, cutting Toronto’s lead to 2-1.


Toronto went more than five full periods — 107 minutes and 46 seconds, to be exact, going back to late in the second period of Game 2 — without a power play until Florida’s Eetu Luostarinen got called for high-sticking the Leafs’ Michael Bunting early in the second period.

And they cashed in.

Bunting tried dumping the puck around the net from the right boards, only to have it bounce off the knee of referee Jon McIsaac as he tried to get out of the way. It skipped to the front of the net, where Nylander knocked it past Bobrovsky for a 1-0 Toronto lead.

It was the first goal of the series for Toronto’s big four players of Nylander, Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Marner.

The score stayed 1-0 going into the third, though Toronto had a big chance to go up two in the final seconds of the second period. Tavares got loose down the center of the ice on a breakaway, but Bobrovsky knocked away his attempt to the stick side to keep Florida within one.

Marner made it 2-0 with 9:57 left, and the Leafs held on. They haven’t been swept in a playoff series since 1980 — a best-of-five against the Minnesota North Stars — and not in a best-of-seven since Montreal ousted them in four games in 1979.



HURRICANES:  The Carolina Hurricanes have never measured Jordan Martinook’s value solely in goals or assists. Yet these days, he is certainly making it easy to count those up, too.

Martinook, a grinding force in Carolina’s aggressive forecheck, is suddenly finding the net and tallying points at a stunning pace against the New Jersey Devils. Consider it a pleasant surprise for Carolina as it navigates injuries to its forward group and enters Thursday’s Game 5 with a chance to clinch a trip to the Eastern Conference final on home ice.

“I just think being able to contribute and have a 3-1 lead is the biggest part,” Martinook said Wednesday. “If I had no points like in the first series and we were winning, I’d be in the exact same position. Obviously it’s cool to contribute and I’m happy to be able to help the team win and just hopefully keep it going. It’s been fun.”

It’s easy to see why, too.

The 30-year-old alternate captain started the year by being placed on waivers for salary-cap purposes, then tallied just 34 points in 82 regular-season games. He had a scoreless but effective showing in the six-game first-round series against the New York Islanders.


But suddenly, he has three goals and six assists in four games against the Devils, becoming the first player in franchise history with four straight multipoint games in a single postseason. That includes three straight games with a goal, the last coming during a three-point night in Tuesday’s 6-1 win at New Jersey for the 3-1 series lead.

And yes, even Martinook is a bit surprised by the numbers.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a run like this before in my time in the NHL, let alone the playoffs,” Martinook said. “Confidence is a good — a great thing. When you can feel it a little bit, it’s definitely nice. I’m just going to try to keep going with the way it’s been going.”

It’s certainly been a boost for Carolina, which lost trade-acquisition Max Pacioretty to a re-torn Achilles injury just a few games into his debut and then top-line forward Andrei Svechnikov to a season-ending knee injury in March. Fellow top-liner Teuvo Teravainen suffered a broken hand during Game 2 of the Islanders series.

It has all forced Carolina to lean on depth throughout the lineup to generate offense throughout its lines, and why Martinook’s points surge has been so vital to go with a motor that keeps him constantly in the action.


STARS 6, KRAKEN 3: Joe Pavelski scored his sixth goal of the series as part of a four-goal second period for visiting Dallas in Game 4 to even the series.

After a pair of tight games in Dallas to open the series, Games 3 and 4 in Seattle were blowouts. The Kraken rolled to a 7-2 win in Game 3 and the Stars responded with their best performance of the series in a dominant Game 4 victory. Game 5 is Thursday night in Dallas.

Pavelski scored four goals in the series opener, added a fifth in Game 2 and gave the Stars a 4-0 lead midway through the second period of Game 4.

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