NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Florida
(Wednesday, April 5th)
Final Score: Atlanta 5, Florida 2
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Scott Mellanby and Marian Hossa each scored third-period goals to lift the Atlanta Thrashers to a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center.
Hossa finished with two goals and two assists and Steve McCarthy added a goal and an assist while Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 49th goal of the season as the Thrashers pulled to within five points of the final playoff spot with the victory.
Kari Lehtonen made 38 saves while Slava Kozlov notched three assists.
Juraj Kolnik and Martin Gelinas scored for the Panthers, who have dropped their last two games and three of their last four and remain eight points out of the playoff picture.
Roberto Luongo allowed four goals on 33 shots in defeat.
With the game knotted at 2-2 in the third period, the Thrashers went ahead on a power-play goal by Mellanby. McCarthy let go a slap shot from the point that Marc Savard deflected before Luongo made the pad save. The rebound though kicked out to the slot where Mellanby lifted the disc just under the crossbar at 6:27.
"It was a huge win for us and to contribute to that is huge," said Mellanby. "We pretty much have to run the table just (to make the playoffs), so to get the game-winning goal in a game like that is pretty special for me personally."
About two minutes later, Atlanta went up two goals as Hossa tallied a shorthanded goal, unleashing a wrister from the right circle that rang off the post and into the net.
Hossa sealed it for Atlanta with an empty-net goal late in the contest.
"Obviously after tonight it's going to take a major miracle (to make the playoffs) so what are you going to do," said Luongo. "There's nothing you can do about it, just keep fighting and play hard the rest of the year no matter what happens."
After a scoreless opening period, the Panthers drew first blood 1:44 into the second stanza with a power-play goal. Olli Jokinen ripped a slap shot from the left point that Lehtonen stopped, however, Kolnik was right on the door step to knock the rebound home.
McCarthy tied the game at 1-1 at the 6:35 mark of the second after he found a loose puck at the left side of the net and tucked the disc just inside the post.
At 11:13 of the second, Florida jumped ahead 2-1 on Gelinas' 16th goal of the season.
A power-play tally by Kovalchuk at 14:53 of the second tied the game up at 2-2 heading into the final frame.
Atlanta improved to 5-2 against Florida this season...Lehtonen made his 27th straight start in net for the Thrashers...Hossa and Kovalchuk each have registered a point in three consecutive games...Hossa's 48 assists on the campaign are a career high...The Panthers lost for the first time in six games at home.
04/05 22:58:01 ET