Atlanta at Florida

Panthers 3, Thrashers 2 (OT)


SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers are trying to make a push for the playoffs, and Nathan Horton is supplying the clutch scoring.

His second overtime goal in three games gave the Panthers a 3-2 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night and extended their winning streak to four games.

"It's a huge win for us," said Horton, who gave the Panthers a 1-0 victory over Boston on Tuesday. "We need to keep this thing rolling, keep getting points."

The Panthers, who have matched their season high with their four-game streak, moved into a tie with Washington for 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 72 points. Philadelphia is in eighth with 78 points.

The Panthers haven't made the playoffs since the 1999-2000 season.

"We lose, we know we could be out and not have any chance," Horton said. "So we just need to keep winning. That's all we can control is winning games."

Brett McLean added two power-play goals for Florida. Both bounced in off Atlanta players.

Bryan Little and Ilya Kovalchuk scored power-play goals for the Thrashers, who snapped a nine-game losing streak Friday with a shootout victory over Minnesota.

Kovalchuk has scored in all five games this season against the Panthers.

But it was Kovalchuk who sat in the penalty box when Horton scored. He was called for hooking Jay Bouwmeester at 3:18 of overtime.

"We played pretty good early, we battled hard, we had a couple chances late," Kovalchuk said. "It was just a bad penalty by me and they scored the game winner."

Horton scored during 4-on-3 play during overtime when he put a slap shot from inside the top of the left circle over Kari Lehtonen's left shoulder.

Florida, which rallied from a 2-0 deficit, dominated overtime with a 6-1 shots advantage.

Florida went back to All-Star goalie Tomas Vokoun after backup Craig Anderson played three straight games, including recording back-to-back shutouts on the road. Vokoun finished with 25 saves after giving up a goal on his first shot.

Lehtonen stopped 38 shots for Atlanta but lost his ninth consecutive decision since a 3-2 shootout victory over Washington on Feb. 13.

"It's just frustrating," he said. "I don't even remember when I won a game last. There's only so much you can take of this. I just need to battle and come back strong back next game."

Little opened the scoring 2:12 into the game after Mark Recchi's pass from behind the net got past Vokoun.

Kovalchuk doubled the Thrashers' lead when his one-timer trickled through Vokoun's legs.

"The second goal was a straight shot from the blue line," Vokoun said. "I would stop that most nights with my hands tied behind my back."

Florida made it 2-1 at 18:32 of the first. Lehtonen made a pad save on McLean's wrist shot, but the rebound bounced in off the skate of Thrashers defenseman Ken Klee.

McLean scored again at 8:40 of the second when his flip from the back of the net went in off the back of Lehtonen's leg.

The comeback from a two-goal deficit was the Panthers' first since Jan. 2.

"The way we played in the first period was a little embarrassing," Florida captain Olli Jokinen said. "(Vokoun) has been carrying us the whole year, and the way we played in the first is not the way you should play in front of your No. 1 goalie. It was a big win for him and for our hockey club."


Florida also won four in a row from Nov. 19-28. ... Jokinen's assists on Florida's last two goals made him the Panthers' career leader with 230. Robert Svehla had held the mark. ... Atlanta C Todd White missed his second consecutive game because of a shoulder injury sustained Wednesday against Carolina. He had missed the previous two games because of an elbow injury. ... Florida is still without C Chad Kilger, who has been suspended by the team for not returning in a timely fashion after being granted a leave of absence.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Atlanta (30-32-8)20002
Florida  (32-31-8) «11013
Three Stars
N. Horton

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
B. McLean

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
M. Recchi

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2

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Scoring Summary
02:12Power Play - Bryan Little (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mark Recchi, Erik Christensen
16:53Power Play - Ilya Kovalchuk (45), Slap Shot. Assist: Mark Recchi, Tobias Enstrom
18:32Power Play - Brett McLean (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Jay Bouwmeester, Rostislav Olesz
08:40Power Play - Brett McLean (13), Tip-In. Assist: Jay Bouwmeester, Olli Jokinen
04:37Power Play - Nathan Horton (23), Slap Shot. Assist: Rostislav Olesz, Olli Jokinen
Penalty Summary
01:34Weiss, 2 min, Tripping
02:16Montador, 5 min, Fighting
02:16Thorburn, 5 min, Fighting
12:37Montador, 2 min, Roughing
16:42Horton, 2 min, Holding the Stick
17:07Havelid, 2 min, Hooking
02:03Jokinen, 2 min, Holding the Stick
07:58Kwiatkowski, 2 min, Hooking
15:25Exelby, 2 min, Interference
06:21Murphy, 2 min, Interference
09:55Olesz, 2 min, Hooking
11:53Peltonen, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
03:18Kovalchuk, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
Kari Lehtonen 84:37403
Tomas Vokoun 64:36252
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Game Information
Attendance - 16614
Referees - Dan Marouelli, Dan O'Rourke
Linesmen - Steve Miller, Jean Morin
Other Games
Mon 5 Final
LA 2
NYI 1 Final
Phi 4
Buf 3 Final
Car 4
Wash 1 Final
Bos 2
Dal 1 Final
Colo 3
NJ 2 Final
Tor 1
Ott 4 Final
Pho 2
StL 2 Final
Van 4