for this game

Panthers squeeze past Thrashers

Apr 2, 2008 - 3:45 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Florida Panthers set a franchise record in a season in which they have been relegated to spoilers.

Jay Bouwmeester and David Booth scored goals within 17 seconds in the third period to power the Panthers to a 3-2 win over the listless Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday.

Olli Jokinen also found the net and Craig Anderson set aside 31 shots for Florida, which set a franchise mark for road victories, notching their 19th win away from the BankAtlantic Center.

"One positive from this year is our road record," Florida coach Jacques Martin said of his team's 19-19-1 record away from Miami. "We're .500 now."

With the contest tied at 1-1, Bouwmeester took advantage of Eric Perrin's turnover, launching a shot from just inside the blue line over the glove of Atlanta netminder Johan Hedberg 62 seconds into the final period to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

Booth doubled the lead 17 seconds later, smashing a wrister from between the circles over the blocker of Hedberg extend the lead to 3-1.

Mark Recchi brought Atlanta to within one with a wrister from the right faceoff circle with 3:12 remaining, but it was too little, too late.

Playing away from the sunny beaches of Miami has not been a problem for Florida, which was eliminated from playoff contention after its loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

If only the Panthers had the same success at home, where they finished 18-15-8, they might still be in the playoff hunt.

"We had a slow start at home," Anderson said. "We were way over .500 at home in March. But you can't go on losing streaks. Early on in the year, we'd lose three or four in a row."

Instead, all Florida can do as they wrap up a disappointing campaign is wreak havoc in the tight Southeast Division race. The Panthers face division co-leaders Carolina and Washington, who each have 90 points, on the road in their last two games.

"Right now, we can spoil other teams' parties," Jokinen said. "We want to win, whether we're not in the playoffs or in the playoffs. It's a challenge for us."

"We can kind of play the spoiler and make things interesting," Bouwmeester said. "That gives us motivation. They are teams that we've played a lot. We have to see what happens."

Jokinen capitalized on an Atlanta penalty to tally the Panthers' first goal at 4:10 of the first period. The Florida captain blasted a wrister from above the circles past a screened Hedberg to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

Rookie Jordan LaVallee drew the contest even with his first NHL tally at 13:09 of the second period when the 21-year-old beat Anderson with a backhander from the left circle.

"I was very excited and thinking about my parents back home watching the game and how happy and proud they were," LaVallee said. "It's a much easier game here. Guys know where they are supposed to be and are always in the right sport, so that makes it easier to join in."

It looked as if Florida's Kamil Kreps broke the tie two-plus minutes later when his shot, along with Hedberg's glove, appeared to trickle over the goal line. But the goal lamp did not light and the play was not reversed upon video replay.

Hedberg set aside 30 shots in what could be his final appearance in a Thrashers uniform at Philips Arena. The 24-year-old fan favorite, who was given his second consecutive Players' Player Award prior to the contest, is in the final year of a two-year, $2 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent.

"We are trying and trying," said Hedberg, who said he tried not to think about whether this could be his last appearance as a Thrasher. "You want to give it to the fans, you want to give them something to cheer for and leave a memory. That's what we want to do."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 1 0 2 3
    ATLANTA 0 1 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - (PP) OLLI JOKINEN 34 (BRETT MCLEAN) 4:10
    2ND PRD: ATL - JORDAN LAVALLEE 1 (NICLAS HAVELID) 13:09
    3RD PRD: FLA - JAY BOUWMEESTER 14 (UNASSISTED) 1:02
    FLA - DAVID BOOTH 22 (MAGNUS JOHANSSON, NATHAN HORTON) 1:19
    AT

    Apr 1 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 3
    ATLANTA 2
    3RD PRD: ATL - MARK RECCHI 14 (JORDAN LAVALLEE) 16:48

    Panthers 3, Thrashers 2  3rd - 3:12Apr 1 9:26 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Panthers 3, Thrashers 2  3rd - 1:48Apr 1 9:26 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 3
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: FLA - DAVID BOOTH 22 (MAGNUS JOHANSSON, NATHAN HORTON) 1:19

    Panthers 3, Thrashers 1  3rd - 18:41Apr 1 8:59 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 2
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: FLA - JAY BOUWMEESTER 14 (UNASSISTED) 1:02

    Panthers 2, Thrashers 1  3rd - 18:58Apr 1 8:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 1 0 1
    ATLANTA 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - (PP) OLLI JOKINEN 34 (BRETT MCLEAN) 4:10
    2ND PRD: ATL - JORDAN LAVALLEE 1 (NICLAS HAVELID) 13:09
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 12 14 26
    ATL 10

    Apr 1 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - JORDAN LAVALLEE 1 (NICLAS HAVELID) 13:09

    Panthers 1, Thrashers 1  2nd - 6:51Apr 1 8:23 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 1 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - (PP) OLLI JOKINEN 34 (BRETT MCLEAN) 4:10
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 12 12
    ATL 10 10
    GOALIES: FLA - CRAIG ANDERSON
    ATL - JOHAN

    Apr 1 7:44 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: FLA - (PP) OLLI JOKINEN 34 (BRETT MCLEAN) 4:10

    Panthers 1, Thrashers 0  1st - 15:50Apr 1 7:17 PM