Panthers Put Up a Fight, But Come Up Short
The Florida Panthers saw a key game slip through their hands in a 5-2 loss to Atlanta. At the beginning of the game, Atlanta was only one point in front of Florida in the Eastern Conference standings.
Juraj Kolnik got the scoring off to a start early into the second with a power-play goal, giving him his 13th of the season, with passes from Olli Jokinen and Joe Nieuwendyk. But Atlanta battled back and tied the game five minutes later.
Martin Gelinas broke the tie when he put in his 16th goal off a rebound shot from Nieuwendyk and Jon Sim. Atlanta was able to put in a rebound goal of their own a few minutes later to send the game to a tie going into the third.
Scott Mellanby snuck one past his former team and goalie Roberto Luongo to put Atlanta ahead of Florida, but the Panthers never gave up.
In an ensuing power play, Marian Hossa tallied a short handed goal at the midway point of the third to elevate the pressure on Florida. In retaliation, the Panthers began a barrage of shots to try and tie the game up, but Kari Lehtonen held strong in goal. In all, Florida fired 40 shots at Lehtonen.
Marian Hossa put away an empty netter at the end to seal the victory for Atlanta.
Even with the loss, there's still hope for the Panthers to make the playoffs. Florida has six games left to climb up to the eighth place standing in the conference to make the post season.
Jacques Martin, head coach of the Panthers, had this to say after the game, "We had tremendous effort, Nieuwendyk's line had some great chances, but couldn't get it to go in."
The Cats next face the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night at 7:30 at the BankAtlantic Center.