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37 SOG
31 SOG
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game recap

Thrashers 2, Panthers 1, SO

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:15 AM

Associated Press

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Thrashers 2, Panthers 1, SO
Atlanta Thrashers 2, Florida Panthers 1

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -Tomas Vokoun was enjoying a brilliant return from a bizarre injury on Saturday night until Ilya Kovalchuk found a way to spoil it.

Kovalchuk scored with a little over a minute left in regulation and Rich Peverley got the winning goal in a shootout to lift the Atlanta Thrashers to a 2-1 win over the slumping Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

Johan Hedberg stopped 30 shots for the Thrashers, winners of five of their last six.

"To get that final goal in the last minute was huge," Peverley said. "Coming out of here with two points is really big."

Stephen Weiss scored the lone goal in regulation for the Panthers, who have lost seven of their last eight.

Vokoun made 36 saves in his first start since sustaining a head injury during Florida's loss to the Thrashers on Monday. He was struck in the head when teammate Keith Ballard swung his stick in a fit of frustration after an Atlanta goal. Vokoun needed stitches in his left ear and was sidelined for two games.

"I thought Vokoun played a great game, considering the circumstances," Florida coach Pete DeBoer said. "He really battled hard for us."

Vokoun held the shutout until 1:04 remained in regulation, when Kovalchuk tied it at 1 with a slap shot. Maxim Afinogenov and Tobias Enstrom each had assists on the goal, Kovalchuk's 16th of the season.

"They played so solid defensively, they really kept us on the outside and Vokoun was solid in net," Hedberg said. "We had to work hard to get that goal at the end."

It was the second consecutive home game in which Florida has blown a lead late in the third period. T.J. Galiardi and Matt Duchene both scored for Colorado with less then a minute left in regulation to force overtime on Wednesday night. The Panthers eventually beat Colorado 6-5 in a shootout.

Florida's loss to Atlanta on Monday also came late in the game, when Afinogenov scored with six seconds remaining in the third period to give the Thrashers a 4-3 win.

Kovalchuk also netted a goal in the first round of the shootout, but Steven Reinprecht got a goal for Florida in the third round to keep it alive.

Weiss' goal, his 13th of the season and sixth in four games, came on the power play at 2:36 of the third. He tipped in Dmitry Kulikov's shot from the blue line, sending the puck under Hedberg's pads to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

"It just wasn't meant to be tonight," DeBoer said. "We live to fight another day. I told the guys after the game that we play like that, we're going to win a lot more than we lose."

NOTES: Vokoun wore a skull wrap to hold down his ear and extra padding around the injury. Vokoun's injured ear looked bruised and swollen after the morning skate. ... After hosting Edmonton on Monday, Florida begins a four-game road trip.

scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
02:36
FLA
PPG - Stephen Weiss (13) Tip-in - ASST: Dmitry Kulikov (8), Nathan Horton (17)
1 - 0 FLA
18:56
ATL
Ilya Kovalchuk (16) Slapshot - ASST: Maxim Afinogenov (15), Tobias Enstrom (17)
1 - 1 Tie
OT Period
NONE
Shootout
RNDFLAATLTOTAL
1S. Weiss
I. Kovalchuk
0 - 1
2N. Horton
V. Kozlov
0 - 1
3S. Reinprecht
M. Afinogenov
1 - 1
4R. Olesz
R. Peverley
1 - 2
penalty summary
1st Period
07:04
ATL
Vyacheslav Kozlov  Hi-sticking against  Gregory Campbell
11:44
ATL
Christoph Schubert  Tripping against  Keith Ballard
17:43
ATL
Colby Armstrong  Roughing against  Gregory Campbell
2nd Period
02:39
FLA
Michael Frolik  Game misconduct
02:39
ATL
Chris Thorburn  Fighting (maj) against  Bryan Allen
02:39
ATL
Eric Boulton  Unsportsmanlike conduct
02:39
FLA
Bryan McCabe  Roughing against  Eric Boulton
02:39
FLA
Michael Frolik  Boarding (maj) against  Tobias Enstrom
02:39
FLA
Bryan Allen  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Thorburn
07:45
FLA
Mike Duco  Kneeing against  Zach Bogosian
07:45
FLA
Keith Ballard  Slashing against  Maxim Afinogenov
07:45
ATL
Maxim Afinogenov  Slashing against  Bryan McCabe
09:37
FLA
Bryan McCabe  Elbowing against  Ilya Kovalchuk
3rd Period
01:10
ATL
Rich Peverley  Hooking against  Radek Dvorak
16:46
FLA
Kamil Kreps  Hooking against  Rich Peverley
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Johan Hedberg
SA: 31TOI: 65:00
Saves: 30EV: 17 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 12 - 13
SV%: .968SH: 1 - 1
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 37TOI: 65:00
Saves: 36EV: 29 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .973SH: 2 - 2