Thrashers 2, Panthers 1, SO

Rich Peverley scored the winning goal in a shootout to lift the

Atlanta Thrashers to a 2-1 win over the slumping Florida Panthers

on Saturday night.

Ilya Kovalchuk tied the game late in the third period for

Atlanta, while Johan Hedberg stopped 30 shots.

Stephen Weiss scored the lone goal in regulation for the

Panthers, who have lost seven of their last eight. Dmitry Kulikov

and Nathan Horton each had an assist.

Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun, making his first start since

sustaining a bizarre injury during Florida’s 4-3 loss to the

Thrashers on Monday, made 36 saves. Vokoun was struck in the head

when teammate Keith Ballard swung his stick in a fit of frustration

after an Atlanta goal. He was carted off the ice on a stretcher,

needed stitches in his left ear and was sidelined for two

games.

Vokoun held a shutout until 1:04 remained in regulation, when

Kovalchuk tied it at 1 with a shot from the left circle. Maxim

Afinogenov and Tobias Enstrom each had assists on the goal,

Kovalchuk’s 16th of the season.

It was the second consecutive time in which Florida has blown a

home lead late in the third period. T.J. Galiardi and Matt Duchene

both scored for Colorado with less then a minute left in regulation

to force overtime on Wednesday night. The Panthers eventually beat

Colorado 6-5 in a shootout.

Kovalchuk also netted a goal in the first round of the shootout,

but Steven Reinprecht got a goal for Florida in the third round to

keep it alive.

Weiss’ goal, his 13th of the season and sixth in four games,

came at 2:36 in the third. He tipped in Kulikov’s shot from the

blue line, sending the puck under Hedberg’s pads to give the

Panthers a 1-0 lead.

NOTES: Vokoun wore a red skull wrap to hold down his ear and

extra padding around the injury. He also played with an old mask

because Ballard’s blow damaged his newer mask. Vokoun’s injured ear

looked bruised and swollen after the morning skate. … After

hosting Edmonton on Monday, Florida begins a four-game road

trip.