NHL Game Summary - Florida at Atlanta
(Sunday, November 2nd)
Final Score: Atlanta 5, Florida 3
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk registered two goals and an assist, as Atlanta defeated Florida, 5-3, in a tussle between two slumping Southeast Division clubs at Philips Arena.
Todd White had a goal and an assist for the Thrashers, who slammed the brakes on a six-game losing streak. Slava Kozlov and Bryan Little also scored, while Erik Christensen collected two assists.
Ondrej Pavelec, who backstopped Atlanta's American Hockey league affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, to the Calder Cup last season, made 18 saves in his first start of 2008-09.
"We played great tonight," said Pavelec. "The guys in front of me played great and did a good job (defensively) and that is why we won."
David Booth, Nathan Horton and Noah Welch each lit the lamp for Florida, which has lost four games in a row. Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 30 shots in defeat.
"We came out flat. They took it to us for a while," said Vokoun. "You want to play a little tighter, especially on the road. It's a tough loss."
The Panthers pulled to within 4-3 early in the third period. Welch, who missed all but four games in 2007-08 because of a shoulder injury, floated a wrister from the left point which bounced over the glove of Pavelec at 3:17.
Florida continued to press, but White's empty-net goal in the final minute sealed the win.
The shot totals heavily favored Atlanta in the first period, 15-4, but the Thrashers managed to sneak only one behind Vokoun.
It all started with White, appearing in his 500th career game, winning a faceoff to the left of Vokoun. Garnet Exelby then released a shot from the point that Vokoun stopped, but Kozlov was able to bang home the rebound with 8.8 seconds remaining.
Kovalchuk gave the Thrashers a 2-0 lead 5:05 into the second period. Rookie defenseman Nathan Oystrick held in a clearing attempt and fed Jason Williams, who curled at the top of the left circle before dropping the puck down low to Christensen at the side of the goal. Christensen quickly centered to Kovalchuk and he tucked the disc past the paddle of a diving Vokoun.
Booth put Florida on the board, scoring a power-play goal at the 6:47 mark. He accepted a pass from Jay Bouwmeester, skated behind the net, came around the far post and beat Pavelec on the wraparound.
Kovalchuk's second of the contest -- a power-play marker -- restored a two- goal edge for the home squad at 10:39 and Little made it 4-1 with three minutes to play in the period. He outraced Vokoun, who made an ill-advised decision to leave his crease, to a loose puck in the high slot and deposited it into the vacated net.
Horton countered 1:20 later and the Panthers trailed 4-2 after 40 minutes of play.
Horton's fourth goal of the season gave him 200 points for his career...Bouwmeester played in his 400th career NHL game...Florida winger Cory Stillman left the game late in the first period with an undisclosed injury and did not return...Atlanta was outscored 29-12 during its skid...The Panthers went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Atlanta finished 1-for-4.
11/02 20:06:34 ET