Savard scored two goals, including one of Atlanta's three goals in the third period, and added two assists to help the Thrashers end a three-game losing streak with a 7-4 victory Saturday night. Florida lost a night after the Panthers snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory over Pittsburgh.
Atlanta's Vyacheslav Kozlov broke a 4-4 tie early in the final period, scoring his sixth goal on a pass from Ilya Kovalchuk. Savard then clinched the victory with his ninth goal on a power play late in the period, beating goalie Roberto Luongo and added an assist on Atlanta's final goal a minute later, this one by Peter Bondra, his 13th.
``We keep working hard like we did tonight, stick with the game for 60 minutes and we are going to be successful,'' Savard said. ``We are staying positive and offensively there are no limits to this team.''
The defense also made a stand in the final period, limiting Florida to only three shots on goal. Overall, Atlanta outshot the Panthers 37-20.
Atlanta made it look easy in the closing minutes of the first period, scoring three times to go up 3-0, but Florida rallied in the second period, scoring three times in under 7 minutes to tie it.
``We had a little shock after the first period. The first period was all us and the second was the opposite,'' Thrashers winger Scott Mellanby said. ``You have to hang in there. In this game you are going to have ups and downs.''
``I definitely didn't like our second period,'' Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. ``But the positive is that in the third period we regrouped and put on quite a shot.''
Atlanta took a 4-3 lead late in the second period on Niclas Havelid's goal, but Panthers tied it on Martin Gelinas' power-play goal with 43 seconds remaining.
Mellanby opened the scoring in the first period with his third goal, beating goalie Jamie McLennan with a slap shot from the blue line.
Two minutes later, Atlanta defenseman Greg de Vries made it 2-0 with a 10-foot shot over McLennan's left shoulder for his fourth goal. Then, Savard scored his eighth goal from in close on a nice pass from Marian Hossa with less than a minute left in the period.
The Thrashers outshot the Panthers 17-10 in the opening 20 minutes. Atlanta rookie goalie Michael Garnett didn't have a tough save in upping his career record to 2-3.
Florida replaced McLennan after the period with Luongo.
The Panthers, however, made Garnett's night much more difficult in the second period, scoring on three of their first four shots in less than a 3-minute span early in the period.
``I thought we showed a lot of tenacity coming back in the second period,'' Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. ``Fatigue from last night may have been a factor for our poor third period.''
Chris Gratton scored his second goal 3:48 into the period, Rostislav Olesz made it 3-2 with his second goal less than 2 minutes later and Gregory Campbell scored his second goal to tie it a minute later.
Notes: Florida C Olesz was activated Saturday after being out five weeks with a sprained knee. ... The Thrashers recalled goalie Adam Berkhoel from Chicago of the AHL. ... Kovalchuk, Atlanta's leading goal scorer, thought he had a goal in the second period, but officials ruled the play dead before he poked the puck into the net.
|Scott Mellanby (3) ASST: Jaroslav Modry (6), Vyacheslav Kozlov (16)|
1 - 0 ATL
|Greg De Vries (4) ASST: Jim Slater (4)|
2 - 0 ATL
|Marc Savard (8) ASST: Marian Hossa (16), Niclas Havelid (8)|
3 - 0 ATL
|Chris Gratton (2) ASST: Gary Roberts (5)|
3 - 1 ATL
|Rostislav Olesz (2) ASST: Niklas Hagman (4)|
3 - 2 ATL
|Gregory Campbell (2) ASST: Serge Payer (4)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Niclas Havelid (2) ASST: Andy Sutton (3), Marc Savard (24)|
4 - 3 ATL
|PPG - Martin Gelinas (6) ASST: Jay Bouwmeester (7), Lukas Krajicek (7)|
4 - 4 Tie
|Vyacheslav Kozlov (6) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (15)|
5 - 4 ATL
|PPG - Marc Savard (9) ASST: Bobby Holik (6), Jaroslav Modry (7)|
6 - 4 ATL
|Peter Bondra (13) ASST: Marian Hossa (17), Marc Savard (25)|
7 - 4 ATL
|Sean Hill Hooking against Peter Bondra|
|Bobby Holik Interference on goalkeeper against Jamie McLennan|
|Jay Bouwmeester Cross checking against Vyacheslav Kozlov|
|Sean Hill Hooking against Peter Bondra|
|Gary Roberts Slashing against Greg De Vries|
|Gary Roberts Boarding against Jean-Pierre Vigier|
|Mike Van Ryn Hi-sticking against Vyacheslav Kozlov|
|Greg De Vries Interference against Stephen Weiss|
|Bobby Holik Hi-sticking against Chris Gratton|
|Chris Gratton Hi-sticking against Bobby Holik|
|Olli Jokinen Tripping against Scott Mellanby|