Atlanta Thrashers vs. Florida Panthers: Thrashers Tame The Kittehs In Wild Finish

Rich Peverley has two goals through two periods tonight in Sunrise. Can he make it to a hat trick?

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Final Score: Atlanta Thrashers 3, Florida Panthers 2

The Thrashers got their first win in regulation since December 20th by holding on against the Florida Panthers. The Panthers got chippy and frustrated, with Allen elbowing Fredrik Modin in the head (no call) and Shawn Matthias boarding Patrice Cormier which resulted on a five minute powerplay for the Thrashers. Unfortunately, the Thrashers couldn’t convert on the PP, and the Panthers pulled within one on a Chris Higgins goal. Higgins has been playing very well recently; this was his 8th goal of the season and his third goal in three games.

The Thrashers managed to hold off a Panther onslaught at the end of the period. The Tampa Bay Lightning got drubbed 8-1 tonight, so the Thrashers are now three points behind them and two point behind the Washington Capitals, and are still in 6th place in the Eastern Conference. The next game is Friday night at Philips Arena against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The puck drop is at 7:30.

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After Two Periods, Thrashers Lead The Florida Panthers 3-1

Rich Peverley is one goal away from his first career hat trick (and almost netted it on a showthanded break-away) after two periods. Peverley’s goal that beat Tomas Vokoun glove side at 6:27 was oddly the straw that broke the camel’s back for Panthers coach Peter DeBoer. Tomas Vokoun was pulled in favor of back up goaltender Scott Clemmensen, who is on a three game winning streak of his own, but who has only won one game against the Thrashers. Clemmensen robbed Peverley who, shorthanded, got a break away in on the goaltender. Clemmer extended the glove and stopped Peverley’s attempt.

The penalty carousel continues, with Atlanta and Florida each taking two more. Florida’s anemic 9% effective powerplay continued its trend, not scoring on either chance.

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Atlanta Thrashers Lead Florida Panthers 2-1 After One Period

In what started out as a bit of a dull game in front of a sparse crowd in Sunrise, Florida, the Thrashers and Panthers have picked up the pace. Combining for three goals in the first period, both teams seem to be determined to make the game as exciting as possible, crowd be damned.

Niclas Bergfors opened the scoring at 12:52 on a feed from Andrew Ladd for his 8th of the year. He took possession on a near off-sides by Florida, passed the puck to Ladd in moving into the Florida zone, and then received the set up pass back from Ladd. He shot the puck from at the right faceoff dot, beating Tomas Vokoun glove side. The puck bounced off the post and directly into the net.

A minute and a half later, Stephen Weiss scored to tie the game on a cross-crease pass from Chris Higgins. There was a scare a few minutes prior with Dustin Byfuglien, who awkwardly fell into the boards, striking his right knee in the process. He returned to the game just before Weiss’ goal.

The Florida Panthers are the least penalized team in the NHL, but there was something about the Thrashers tonight that seemed to encourage Florida to get the whistle. At 16:04, Bryan Allen got the whistle for delay of game, which the Panthers killed off. At 18:34 Dmitry Kulikov got whistled for interference on Patrice Cormier and then just twenty-five seconds later Jason Garrison got called for high sticking to Rich Peverley’s head. If you hit Peverley in the head, he apparently will hit the puck in your net. Peverley scored at 19:29 of the period on the first powerplay by taking the puck to the net and getting his own rebound off of Vokoun’s pad. Tenacity gets rewarded in the form of Peverley’s 10th goal of the season – the sixth Thrasher to hit that mark.

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