Florida Panthers Facebook Florida Panthers Twitter Florida Panthers Google+ Florida Panthers Pintrest Florida Panthers Instagram Florida Panthers
Atlanta
Thrashers
34-40-8
Florida
Panthers
38-35-9

30 SOG
25 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
ATL
FLA
game recap

Cats Inch Closer To Playoff Position

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Associated Press

Share with your Friends


Cats Inch Closer To Playoff Position
Atlanta Thrashers 1, Florida Panthers 3
Radek Dvorak celebrates his first period goal against the Thrashers. (Getty Images)

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -Florida's power play was too much for Atlanta, again.

Olli Jokinen and Rostislav Olesz scored with the man advantage and the Panthers tied a franchise record with their seventh consecutive victory, 3-1 over the Thrashers on Sunday night.

"On my goal it was the guy screening and I hit the net; the second one was a breakout we've been practicing all year," Jokinen said. "I think it's just having everybody on the same page."

The Panthers finished 2-for-5 on the power play, compared to Atlanta's 0-for-4 effort. Florida went 3-for-4 with the man advantage in beating the Thrashers 3-2 in a shootout March 8.

The Panthers, who also won seven in a row in the 1995-96 and 2005-06 seasons, haven't lost since they were beaten by Minnesota 3-2 on Feb. 29.

"This is the time of year when you want to play this type of hockey and you want to be finding ways to win, and that's what we're doing," said Brett McLean, who assisted on both power-play goals. "I think it's real important for us not to get overconfident and to make sure we're at our best for 60 minutes each night."

Radek Dvorak, who was a rookie on that 1995-96 Panthers team, had the other Florida goal.

Jokinen added an assist, and McLean extended his point streak to six games with the two assists. He has four goals and six assists during the run.

The Panthers are only two points behind eighth-place Philadelphia and the postseason cutoff in the Eastern Conference.

"We're still not there," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "We still have some catching up to do. That's why we can't afford to lose."

Ilya Kovalchuk scored for Atlanta, which has lost nine straight on the road and 12 of 14 overall.

Atlanta outshot Florida 30-25, the first time in 24 games the Thrashers held an edge.

Game Highlights
Starting Lineups
 Panthers    Thrashers
 Weiss
C
 Holik
 Booth
LW
 Kovalchuk
 Horton
RW
 Thorburn
 Bouwmeester
D
 Kwiatkowski
 Skrastins
D
 Klee
 Vokoun
G
 Hedberg 
Post-Game Video
 Jacques Martin
 Olli Jokinen
  Brett McLean
  Radek Dvorak
 Tomas Vokoun
PhotoGallery
 Panthers vs Thrashers
Quote of the Game
"We're still not there. We still have some catching up to do. That's why we can't afford to lose."
-Panthers GM & Head Coach Jacques Martin
Stat of the Game
Panthers forward Brett McLean has been on fire. Assisting on the Cats second and third goal, McLean has 10 points in the last five games, recording two points in each of those games.
3 Stars
Presented by Szrio Jewelry
1. Olli Jokinen
2. Rostislav Olesz
3. Tomas Vokoun

"I thought we played pretty hard," said Thrashers wing Eric Boulton, who was involved in two fights. "They re fighting for their playoff lives and we gave them a good run for their money. We outshot them tonight and that's the first time we've done that in a while. We're going right to the end.

All-Star Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves for Florida, and Johan Hedberg finished with 22.

Vokoun saved his best work for the third period, when the Thrashers outshot Florida 12-5.

"Vokoun was our best player again," Jokinen said. "He made the big saves in the third period."

After Dvorak gave Florida a 1-0 lead with his first goal since Jan. 15, Jokinen made it 2-0 with his second in two games after an eight-game scoreless streak.

He took a short pass near the boards before firing a slap shot from just outside the circle that beat Hedberg to the stick side.

"I think my shot never would have gone in if Mac (McLean) and Olesz wouldn't have been in front," Jokinen said. "It takes all five guys to score goals. I think on every goal we were doing that."

It was the second consecutive game-winner for Jokinen, whose third-period goal gave the Panthers a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers Friday night.

"You look at his performance the last couple of games, it's certainly been better than before," Martin said. "At this time of year you need that. You need to have your best players be your best players. That helps you win hockey games."

Kovalchuk scored his 49th of the season exactly a minute into the second period to cut Florida's lead in half. He tipped in Bryan Little s pass from the side of the net.

Olesz restored Florida s two-goal lead 17 seconds into the third when he one-timed Jokinen's pass across the crease.

"It was a great boost for our hockey club," Dvorak said of Olesz's goal. "That's huge. We won the game because of that. Great win for us, and we'll see if we can keep rolling."

Notes: Florida D Bryan Allen sat out because of a hand injury sustained Friday when he was checked into the boards from behind by Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan. ... Florida D Branislav Mezei replaced Allen in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous four games. ... Atlanta C Todd White missed his sixth consecutive game because of a shoulder injury. ... After hitting the post twice against the Rangers on Friday, Olesz did it again in the first period. ... Atlanta hadn't held a shots advantage since a 31-24 edge over Edmonton on Jan. 20 in a 4-2 loss. ... Atlanta C Erik Christensen left the game in the third period because of a sprained knee. Coach Don Waddell said after the game Christensen was day to day.

scoring summary
1st Period
02:07
FLA
Radek Dvorak (6) ASST: Ville Peltonen (14), Kamil Kreps (16)
1 - 0 FLA
13:38
FLA
PPG - Olli Jokinen (32) ASST: Steve Montador (15), Brett McLean (18)
2 - 0 FLA
2nd Period
01:00
ATL
Ilya Kovalchuk (49) ASST: Bryan Little (8), Joel Kwiatkowski (4)
2 - 1 FLA
3rd Period
00:17
FLA
PPG - Rostislav Olesz (14) ASST: Olli Jokinen (37), Brett McLean (19)
3 - 1 FLA
penalty summary
1st Period
02:10
FLA
Wade Belak  Fighting (maj) against  Eric Boulton
02:10
ATL
Eric Boulton  Fighting (maj) against  Wade Belak
02:50
FLA
Karlis Skrastins  Tripping against  Bobby Holik
06:24
ATL
Steve McCarthy  Hooking against  Steve Montador
11:27
FLA
Karlis Skrastins  Hooking against  Bobby Holik
13:31
ATL
Ilya Kovalchuk  Slashing against  Stephen Weiss
17:00
FLA
Kamil Kreps  Holding against  Chris Thorburn
2nd Period
04:14
ATL
Eric Boulton  Fighting (maj) against  Branislav Mezei
04:14
ATL
Eric Boulton  Roughing against  Branislav Mezei
04:14
FLA
Branislav Mezei  Fighting (maj) against  Joel Kwiatkowski
04:14
FLA
Branislav Mezei  Cross checking against  Garnet Exelby
06:14
ATL
Joel Kwiatkowski  Hooking against  Rostislav Olesz
17:01
ATL
Ken Klee  Holding against  Radek Dvorak
17:22
FLA
Jay Bouwmeester  Hooking against  Eric Perrin
19:55
ATL
Bobby Holik  Interference against  Jassen Cullimore
3rd Period
NONE
goalie stats
Johan Hedberg
Johan Hedberg
SA: 25TOI: 58:37
Saves: 22EV: 19 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 5
SV%: .880SH: 0 - 0
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 30TOI: 59:58
Saves: 29EV: 24 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .967SH: 0 - 0
OUR PARTNERS