SUNRISE, Fla. – Rich Peverley scored twice and Ondrej Pavelec made 33 saves in the Atlanta Thrashers' 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.
Niclas Bergfors also scored to help Atlanta win for only the third time in its last eight games (3-4-1). Andrew Ladd had two assists. Chris Higgins had a goal and an assist and Stephen Weiss added a goal for Florida. The Panthers lost in regulation for only the second time in nine games (5-2-2).
Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun came into the game third in the NHL in save percentage, but was pulled after Peverley's second goal at 6:27 of the second period. Vokoun gave up three goals on 15 shots.
Peverley's first goal came on a 5-on-3 power play and gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead with 31 seconds left in the first. Peverley skated around defenseman Mike Weaver and put in his own rebound with a backhander. Peverley made it 3-1 when he beat Vokoun on a 2-on-1 rush with a long wrist shot over the goalie's right shoulder.
Later in the third period, Peverley had a great opportunity for his first career hat trick when he came in on a breakaway. But Vokoun's replacement, Scott Clemmensen, made a glove save on Peverley's wrist shot.
Atlanta failed to score on a 5-minute power play early in the third period after Shawn Matthias was called for boarding. Florida actually had the best scoring chance during those 5 minutes when Marty Reasoner came in alone on Pavelec. He tried to slip a backhander between Pavelec's legs, but the goalie made a stick save.
Higgins scored at 12:39 of the third on a breakaway after taking a long pass from Weaver.
Bergfors opened the scoring at 12:52 thanks to a lucky bounce. Coming in on a 2-on-1, he fired a wrist shot that bounced off the post and caromed in off the back of Vokoun's shoulder.
Weiss tied it at 14:16 with his fifth goal in seven games. He beat Pavelec with a wrist shot from the slot.
NOTES: Higgins' goal was the 100th of his career. ... Peverley has six career two-goal game. The last came earlier this season against Montreal. ... The Panthers were playing the second of five consecutive games against Southeast Division opponents. ... Panthers F Evgeny Dadonov sat out because of an ankle injury he sustained Monday night at Carolina.