SUNRISE, Fla. – Aleksander Barkov finished off the Toronto Maple Leafs with his first NHL hat trick.
Barkov scored at 3:24 of overtime to complete the hat trick and give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Barkov became the first player in Panthers franchise history to complete a hat trick with an overtime goal. He slipped the puck past goalie Frederik Andersen with a backhanded shot from the right side of the crease.
“I still probably can’t believe it’s been like 10 years (in Europe) since my last hat trick and I kind of forgot how it feels,” Barkov said. “Maybe I will realize later what happened.”
WATCH: Barkov completes first-career hat trick in OT win over Toronto Maple Leafs
Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist, and Roberto Luongo made 29 saves to help the Panthers snap a four-game skid.
“I hate looking at the game sheet and seeing the minutes he (Barkov) plays but we’re in a situation where we don’t have a choice sometimes,” coach Bob Boughner said. “He was our best player tonight and the best player on the ice.”
Mitchell Marner scored twice for Toronto, John Tavares added his team-high 20th goal and Andersen stopped 28 shots. The Maple Leafs have lost four of their past five.
“Obviously, Barkov was the best player on the ice by 10 miles,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “Their team was desperate, they hadn’t won in a while, and our desperation didn’t match their skill level.”
The Maple Leafs tied it at 3 with 1:39 left in regulation on Marner’s second goal. His shot from the right circle beat the screened Luongo.
Toronto closed to 2-1 when Tavares tipped in a shot from the point by Jake Gardiner with 9:36 left in the third. Marner tied it with 3:39 left in the third, beating Luongo on the glove side from the right circle.
WATCH: Toronto Maple Leafs’ Tavares tips puck in for 20th of the season
“We needed to get the pucks in more and challenge their ‘D’ a little bit,” Marner said. “I think we did that in the third and that’s why we were successful.”
The Panthers reclaimed the lead 27 seconds later on Barkov’s second goal. He fired a shot from the slot that got past Andersen.