Tomas Vokoun stops 38 shots to lead Panthers past struggling Thrashers 2-1

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

ATLANTA - Tomas Vokoun says allowing only one goal in a game boosts a goaltender's confidence.

Vokoun should be feeling good after his third win in a week in which he gave up one goal.

Stephen Weiss and Radek Dvorak scored second-period goals, Vokoun stopped 38 shots and the Florida Panthers beat the slumping Atlanta Thrashers 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Vokoun also was in the net for a 4-1 win over Toronto on Nov. 10 and a 2-1 win over Minnesota on Friday.

"It would be a nice plan if you could do it," Vokoun said of his hot streak. "We've just been playing some good hockey.

"When you give up just one goal, it gives you confidence."

The Panthers ended a streak of three straight losses in Atlanta while also making up for a 4-3 loss to the Thrashers at Florida on Nov. 3.

"We haven't had much success in this building," Vokoun said.

The Thrashers suffered their sixth loss in their past seven games since the win at Florida.

Poor defence has hurt the Thrashers.

Atlanta entered Wednesday night's game last in the league with its average of 37.1 shots allowed, a trend that continues to put too much pressure on goaltenders Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason.

Pavelec made 32 stops but surrendered the lead in the second period under a barrage of 16 shots, including goals by Weiss and Dvorak.

"We spent too much time in our zone and they scored two goals on us," Pavelec said. "Then we played great in the third period, spent almost the whole period in their zone but couldn't get it past Vokoun."

Dvorak's goal on the Panthers' 29th shot of the night gave Florida a 2-1 lead with 1:57 remaining in the second period, ending a span of about five minutes when the Panthers relentlessly attacked Pavelec.

"We kept them penned in their zone and wouldn't let them have a line change, and we were rewarded for it," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said.

The Thrashers regrouped to outshoot the Panthers 18-3 in the final period, but Vokoun protected the lead.

"It didn't look like he would let anything in," DeBoer said. "Tonight he was at the top of his game."

The Panthers have won three of their past four.

"We're not doing anything different from the first of the year, but we finally are being rewarded," DeBoer said.

Zach Bogosian's first goal of the season, a long shot from the right point, gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Vokoun denied the Thrashers the rest of the way.

Weiss answered for the Panthers 1:13 into the second period by scoring as Pavelec lunged forward for the block, leaving the net exposed.

Pavelec started after Mason allowed a combined eight goals in his past two games.

Florida's only penalty was a slashing call against Dvorak early in the second period. The Panthers were 0-for-3 on their power play.

The loss left Atlanta only one point ahead of the last-place Panthers in the Southeast Division.

"I think we played hard enough, but it doesn't matter," Thrashers defenceman Johnny Oduya said. "You can't give a period away to any team in the league."

Notes: The Panthers earned only their third win in eight games against Atlanta since the start of the 2009-10 season. ... Thrashers D Dustin Byfuglien did not return after having a shot at close range hit his right leg late in the opening period. The Thrashers did not release details of the injury. ... Former Thrashers C Marty Reasoner started for Florida. ... Attendance was 10,168.

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