NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 25th (All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (2-4-2-0) at Atlanta Thrashers (4-0-2-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The NHL-leading Atlanta Thrashers will attempt to add to their franchise-best start this evening, when they take on the Florida Panthers at Philips Arena.
Atlanta is fresh off a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday, pushing its point total to 11. The Thrashers didn't post 11 points until November 19th last year -- a span of 18 games -- compared to seven this season.
Ilya Kovalchuk recorded his second hat trick in three games and scored twice in a three-goal flurry in the second period, as the Thrashers defeated the Predators on Thursday. Kovalchuk leads the league with nine goals and the hat trick was the third of his career.
J.P. Vigier also scored for Atlanta, which tallied three goals in 3:28 midway through the middle frame and received 28 saves from Pasi Nurminen. Atlanta has captured at least one point in every game so far this season.
The Panthers have dropped four of their last five games, including a 4-3 defeat to the Minnesota Wild on Friday. Olli Jokinen, Ivan Novoseltsev and Darcy Hordichuk all scored for the Panthers. The goal was the first in 42 games for Hordichuk. It was only the second goal of his career.
Roberto Luongo was bombarded with 40 shots in the losing effort. This was the first time in eight games this season that Luongo has yielded more than two goals.
Florida scored once in seven tries with the man advantage.
Florida went 3-1-0-1 against the Thrashers last season, including a 2-0-0-1 mark at Philips Arena. The Panthers are 4-3-2-1 versus the Thrashers since the start of the 2001-02 campaign.
10/25 10:02:47 ET