Down 3-1 in the third period, the Florida Panthers stormed back to force overtime, but couldn’t handle the former Chicago Blackhawks’ duo in Atlanta. Dustin Byfuglien had three assists, including setting up the overtime goal, and Andrew Ladd scored a pair of goals, netting the game winner 25 seconds into overtime, leading the Thrashers to a 4-3 victory.
Florida drew first blood in the first period, in the high scoring contest, when Niclas Bergfors wrapped a puck around and threw it on net, which Sergei Samsonov hammered passed Chris Mason.
Just 43 seconds into the second period, Blake Wheeler scored for the Thrashers. Ladd took a shot that bounced off Tomas Vokoun, and Byfuglien was able to tap the loose puck to Wheeler, who easily shot it into the net.
An innocent looking 1-1 game erupted into fireworks in the third period. Atlanta got it going when Ladd picked up a loose puck and tucked it into an open net. Vokoun was out of position trying to locate the bouncing puck. The Thrashers made it 3-1 when Byfuglien carried the puck all the way up the ice, and shot it into Vokoun. The Panthers goalie thought he had it covered, but Wheeler took it out from behind him and fired it into the open net for his second goal of the game.
The Panthers fought back on goals by Stephen Weiss and David Booth. Weiss’ goal came on the power play, off of a clean face off win. Weiss carried the puck across the blue line, looking for a better shooting lane, and beat Mason. Booth was in the right place at the right time, gathering a deflection and putting the puck into a wide open net.
Florida lost for the fourth straight game, and has only two wins in its last 10 games. They will be back in action tomorrow afternoon, at home against the Washington Capitals.