Cats Play 'Hawks Tonight in Chicago
ATLANTA, GA - In the first of ten meetings between the two teams, the Florida Panthers dropped a 6-3 decision to the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday night at Philips Arena. The divisional foes will play each other once more in the preseason on Sept. 27 in South Florida, before playing one another eight times during the regular season.
Atlanta jumped out to an early four-goal lead receiving a pair of goals from LW Ilya Kovalchuk, along with tallies by RW Marian Hossa and C Jason Krog. The Cats battled back cutting the lead to 4-2, on back-to-back goals by LW Ville Peltonen and LW Rostislav Olesz. Peltonen banged a rebound past Thrashers netminder Kari Lehtonen for his first goal as a Panther, while Olesz picked up his first of the preseason at 14:25. The Thrashers closed out the scoring for the period when LW Brett Sterling found the back of the net at 16:36.
Florida and Atlanta traded goals in the middle frame. RW Nathan Horton netted a power play tally off a perfect feed from C Olli Jokinen at 13:12 to make it 5-3. The Thrashers pulled ahead by three again late in the second period when RW Joseph Crabb fired a shot past Cats netminder Jean-Marc Pelletier with just under a minute to play in the second period. Pelletier replaced G Alex Auld who was in net for the first period of action.
Neither club would score in the third period.
The Panthers travel to Chicago immediately after the game and face-off against the Blackhawks on Thursday at 8 p.m. EST in their fourth preseason contest.