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Atlanta
Thrashers
33-37-8-4
Florida
Panthers
28-35-15-4
OT
42 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
ATL
FLA
game recap

Atlanta Thrashers 4, Florida Panthers 3 FINAL OT

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:57 AM

Associated Press

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- The Atlanta Thrashers reacquired Ben Simon this week to add some toughness. A rare showing of offense rallied his new team to a win.

Simon's first NHL goal tied it in the third period and Vyacheslav Kozlov then scored 2:57 into overtime to give the Thrashers a 4-3 victory Saturday night over the Florida Panthers.

Simon, a second-year player, played nine games for Atlanta last season before signing with Nashville in the offseason. Now he's back.

"I'm pretty happy," he said. "I'm not really a goal scorer. But I'll take what I can get. It's pretty neat to be able to say you scored in the NHL."

Kozlov scored the game-winner by ripping in a hard slap shot from just inside the blue line.

The Southeast Division-leading Thrashers, who beat Anaheim on Friday, also got goals from Jeff Cowan and Shawn McEachern. Atlanta improved to 3-1 against Florida this season.

Matt Cullen, Byron Ritchie and rookie Nathan Horton scored for the Panthers, winless in five (0-3-2).

"If we keep playing like this, we'll get some points on the board, so we can't keep our heads down," Florida goalie Roberto Luongo said. "We've got to win some games if we want to make the playoffs."

Atlanta's Pasi Nurminen finished with 31 saves. Luongo stopped 38 shots.

The Thrashers were 1-for-7 on the power play, and 18 of their 42 shots came with the man advantage. Florida was 1-for-2 on the power play.

"We had a lot of power plays against us and we can't afford to do that," Panthers coach Rick Dudley said. "Whether it's warranted or not, we can't have penalties like that."

The Thrashers trailed 3-1 in the second period when McEachern began Atlanta's comeback with his fifth goal of the season, fourth against the Panthers.

"It's strange," McEachern said of his success against Florida. "I've never had that happen, really."

McEachern batted a puck out of the air in front of the net and put his own rebound past Luongo.

"McEachern plays extremely well against us and we have to figure that out," Dudley said.

Simon tied it with his first NHL goal at 9:49 of the third. Simon put a rebound past Luongo after Ilya Kovalchuk's shot went wide and bounced back on the other side of the net.

"When you're playing with Kolvy, you're going to get some chances," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "I like him. He brings grit to our lineup. We knew exactly what we were doing when we made the trade."

Luongo kept it tied 1-1 early in the second with several nice saves as Atlanta outshot the Panthers 10-0 to start the period.

"He played great, especially on that one power play in the second period when it seemed like we had 10 shots," McEachern said. "He just kept kicking his pads out."

Florida's first shot in the period was a wrister from the point by defenseman Mathieu Biron. After Nurminen's blocker save, Ritchie backhanded the rebound between Nurminen's pads.

Horton extended the lead when he tipped Valeri Bure's wrist shot from the point on a power play.

Cowan gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead at 8:31 of the first with the Thrashers on a four-minute power play.

After Kovalchuk's one-timed slap shot from the point hit the post, the puck sat in the crease with Luongo out of position until Cowan skated in from the side.

Cullen tied it 1-1 at 18:11 of the first with his first goal. Cullen, who returned Wednesday after missing 23 games because of a sports hernia, beat Nurminen over the shoulder with a backhand from close range.

"We were working hard," Simon said. "The power play was doing everything but scoring. We knew if we kept battling, things would go our way."

scoring summary
1st Period
08:31
ATL
PPG - Jeff Cowan (6) Tip-in - ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (15), Jean-Pierre Vigier (6)
1 - 0 ATL
18:11
FLA
Matt Cullen (1) Backhand shot - ASST: NONE
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
06:53
FLA
Byron Ritchie (2) Backhand shot - ASST: Mathieu Biron (3), Craig MacDonald (1)
2 - 1 FLA
08:43
FLA
PPG - Nathan Horton (4) Tip-in - ASST: Valeri Bure (10), Viktor Kozlov (11)
3 - 1 FLA
15:49
ATL
Shawn McEachern (5) Tip-in - ASST: Marc Savard (13), Garnet Exelby (5)
3 - 2 FLA
3rd Period
09:49
ATL
Benjamin Simon (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (16), Jeff Cowan (12)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
02:57
ATL
Vyacheslav Kozlov (11) Slapshot - ASST: Frantisek Kaberle (15), Patrik Stefan (10)
4 - 3 ATL
penalty summary
1st Period
05:38
FLA
Craig MacDonald  Hi-sticking
05:38
FLA
Craig MacDonald  Hi-sticking
12:22
ATL
Serge Aubin  Cross checking
20:00
FLA
Byron Ritchie  Roughing
2nd Period
02:32
FLA
Lyle Odelein  Roughing
07:47
ATL
Daniel Tjarnqvist  Tripping
09:10
FLA
Pavel Trnka  Interference
16:54
FLA
Valeri Bure  Unsportsmanlike conduct
3rd Period
13:31
FLA
Niklas Hagman  Hooking - Obstruction
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Pasi Nurminen
SA: 34TOI: 62:57
Saves: 31EV: 29 - 31
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 3
SV%: .912SH: 0 - 0
Roberto Luongo
SA: 42TOI: 62:57
Saves: 38EV: 22 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 16 - 17
SV%: .905SH: 0 - 0