Thrashers
Panthers
2 - 3 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Stumpel, Anderson keep alive Panthers' playoff hopes

Mar 29, 2007 - 4:27 AM
SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- The Florida Panthers entered with the worst shootout record in the league. Jozef Stumpel and Craig Anderson changed that in a hurry.

After scoring the tying goal midway through the third period, Stumpel netted the clincher in the shootout and Anderson stopped both shots he faced in the bonus format as the Panthers kept alive their slim postseason hopes with a 3-2 victory over the struggling Atlanta Thrashers.

Nathan Horton scored the winning tally in the shootout and Stumpel added an assist in regulation for Florida (33-30-14), which climbed within six points of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with five games remaining. However, three other teams stand between the Panthers and eighth-place Montreal Canadiens (40-31-6).

"Basically, we've just got to win our games," Florida coach Jacques Martin said.

With the shootout triumph, Florida improved to 2-8 in the format, leaving San Jose (1-2) and Philadelphia (1-6) as the only clubs with one victory.

After defenseman Bryan Allen gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the game, Vyacheslav Kozlov recorded his fifth multi-goal performance of the season to put the Thrashers ahead. But Stumpel cashed in during a power play with 7:59 remaining in the third to forge a 2-2 tie.

"I just wanted to make sure we had a chance to win," Anderson said. "It was a real battle in the third. We had the momentum and were fortunate enough to get a power-play goal to tie it up."

Following a scoreless overtime, Ville Peltonen was denied by goaltender Kari Lehtonen on Florida's first shootout opportunity. Anderson, who made 33 saves prior to the format, was equal to the task for the Panthers, making a blocker save on Kozlov to keep things even.

Horton gave the Panthers the edge in the second round, beating Lehtonen high to the glove side. Anderson, who halted Ed Belfour's franchise-record streak of 27 consecutive starts in making his first with the club, followed with a brilliant glove save on Marian Hossa to keep Florida in front.

"He made some big saves when he had to, none bigger than in the shootout," Martin said. "He faced two pretty big shooters in the shootout and he handled them well."

"He's a good goalie, and he showed it tonight," Horton added. "Everybody's happy for him."

With a chance to seal the win, Stumpel did just that, deking Lehtonen to the ice before banking the puck off the netminder's left pad for his second goal in four attempts this season.

"I tried to get him in a stance, get him down and go around him," Stumpel said. "He's pretty quick. He still stretched a leg, but there was still room there."

"It's a terrific feeling," Anderson added. "It's a credit to the guys. If we don't score there, we don't win. So as much as I've got to stop it, we've got to have guys to put it in."

Lehtonen made 33 saves for Atlanta (39-27-11), which lost its third straight game but increased its lead in the Southeast Division over second-place Tampa Bay (41-32-4) to three points. Both teams have five games remaining.

"It was definitely a big point," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "We leave this building with one point, and that may be a very big point later."

"Our goal is to get to the playoffs, and everybody believes in this room, and we have a good chance to do that," Lehtonen said. "We're still on top and three points ahead of Tampa. We just have to get some wins now."

Allen opened the scoring at 7:04 of the first period, firing a wrist shot between the pads of Lehtonen from high in the left faceoff circle after receiving a cross-slot feed from Chris Gratton.

But Kozlov forged a tie with 1:44 remaining in the session and completed a nifty passing play with 6:27 left in the second, converting a pass by captain Scott Mellanby at the left faceoff dot from alone on the right side of the net during a power play for a 2-1 edge. It was Atlanta's lone goal on eight man-advantage opportunities.

Kozlov nearly had a hat trick, but a goal earlier in the middle period was waved off after it was ruled he intentionally kicked in the puck.

"My stick was there and I tried to get it on a backhand," said Kozlov, who established a new career high in points (75). "It hit my skate and I didn't have a chance to get it."

On only the third power play of the game for the Panthers just over 12 minutes into the third, captain Olli Jokinen unleashed a slap shot from above the left circle that deflected to Stumpel, who fired a shot past Lehtonen from low in the right circle to knot the contest. "Olli shot and (the puck) came right to me, and I almost missed the net," Stumpel said. "(Lehtonen) still got back (in position) and it went off the post and in."

"That tying goal in the third was a lucky bounce, I think," Lehtonen said. "It hits our defenseman and goes right to him. He has a whole open net and he puts it between my pads and barely in."








  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1 0 0 (0) 2
    FLORIDA 1 0 1 0 (2) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - BRYAN ALLEN 4 (CHRIS GRATTON, JOZEF STUMPEL) 7:04
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (BOBBY HOLIK, GARNET EXELBY) 18:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 24 (SCOTT MELLANBY

    Mar 28 10:25 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1 0 0 (0) 2
    FLORIDA 1 0 1 0 (2) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - BRYAN ALLEN 4 (CHRIS GRATTON, JOZEF STUMPEL) 7:04
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (BOBBY HOLIK, GARNET EXELBY) 18:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 24 (SCOTT MELLANBY

    Thrashers vs. PanthersMar 28 10:25 PM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1 0 0 2
    FLORIDA 1 0 1 0 2 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - BRYAN ALLEN 4 (CHRIS GRATTON, JOZEF STUMPEL) 7:04
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (BOBBY HOLIK, GARNET EXELBY) 18:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 24 (SCOTT MELLANBY, MARIA

    Mar 28 10:19 PM
  • 80
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Thrashers vs. PanthersMar 28 10:19 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1 0 2
    FLORIDA 1 0 1 2 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - BRYAN ALLEN 4 (CHRIS GRATTON, JOZEF STUMPEL) 7:04
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (BOBBY HOLIK, GARNET EXELBY) 18:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 24 (SCOTT MELLANBY, MARIAN
    HOSSA) 13:33
    3RD PRD:

    Mar 28 10:11 PM
  • 65
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 65 roots

    Thrashers vs. PanthersMar 28 10:02 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    FLORIDA 2
    3RD PRD: FLA - (PP) JOZEF STUMPEL 21 (OLLI JOKINEN, JURAJ KOLNIK)
    12:01

    Thrashers vs. PanthersMar 28 9:57 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1 2
    FLORIDA 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - BRYAN ALLEN 4 (CHRIS GRATTON, JOZEF STUMPEL) 7:04
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (BOBBY HOLIK, GARNET EXELBY) 18:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 24 (SCOTT MELLANBY, MARIAN
    HOSSA) 13:33
    SHOTS ON G

    Mar 28 9:16 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    FLORIDA 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 24 (SCOTT MELLANBY, MARIAN
    HOSSA) 13:33

    Thrashers vs. PanthersMar 28 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1
    FLORIDA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - BRYAN ALLEN 4 (CHRIS GRATTON, JOZEF STUMPEL) 7:04
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (BOBBY HOLIK, GARNET EXELBY) 18:16
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 15 15

    Mar 28 8:14 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    FLORIDA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (BOBBY HOLIK, GARNET EXELBY) 18:16

    Thrashers vs. PanthersMar 28 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    FLORIDA 1
    1ST PRD: FLA - BRYAN ALLEN 4 (CHRIS GRATTON, JOZEF STUMPEL) 7:04

    Thrashers vs. PanthersMar 28 7:51 PM