University School Kids Correspondent
The Florida Panthers scored a season high eight goals and five of them came in the final period in their 8-4 win over Atlanta in front of a BankAtlantic Center crowd packed with kids on Kids Day Saturday.
The win is the Panthers third straight and they improve to 4-0-1 in their last five games. The Cats are 20-16-6 overall after defeating their southeast division rival Atlanta in a “ critical game” according to coach Pete DeBoer.
With the game tied 3-3 through two periods, the Panthers exploded with three goals in the first seven minutes to seal the win. Villie Peltonen broke the tie with a one-timer from Radek Dvorak just a minute and half into the period.
Just a minute and eight seconds following Peltonen’s goal, Cory Stillman scored his ninth goal of the season to make it a two-goal game.
The Cats made it a 6-3 game with possibly the nicest play of the season. On a 3-on-2 break, David Booth, Nathan Horton and Richard Zednik passed to perfection. Booth skated to the left and dished it back to Horton who passed it to Zednik who drove the puck right back to a cutting Booth for the easy put in.
Peltonen came right back later in the third for his second goal of the afternoon and eighth of the season.
Following an Atlanta Ilya Kovalchuk goal, Nathan Horton scored the Panthers eighth and final goal to seal the deal and an 8- 4 victory.
The Panthers also started the game strong with a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission.
After a strong opening period, the Panthers, “got away from our game plan,”
said DeBoer. The Cats went into the locker room tied at three after two periods.
Goaltender Tomas Vokoun had a solid game in the win, saving 28 shots. Gregory Campbell had the hat trick in assists with three - The Panthers are 12-0-1 when Campbell has a point. Dvorak added two assists to go along with his goal.
For the Thrashers, their goaltender Kari Lehtonen struggled saving only 20 shots while allowing seven goals. He was pulled in the middle of the third period and was replaced by Johan Hedberg.
Todd White, Erik Christensen and Colby Armstrong each scored for Atlanta to go along with Kovalchuk’s 16th of the year.