Thrashers vs. Panthers Preview
Sunrise, Florida - After a rough three-game stretch, Tomas Vokoun returned to form in the Florida Panthers' last victory.
He'll likely need another solid performance against a Southeast Division rival he's dominated at home in recent years.
Florida hosts Atlanta on Wednesday night hoping to slow down the Thrashers, who have averaged 4.0 goals during a 2-0-2 stretch.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Panthers –125 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Thrashers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 56% of more than 28,122 bets for this game have been placed on the Panthers -125.
Vokoun made 40 saves Saturday night in a 3-1 victory in Montreal. After back-to-back shutouts against Calgary and Tampa Bay from Oct. 14-16, Vokoun went 1-2-0 with a 4.54 goals-against average over his next three starts.
David Booth scored on a penalty shot for his team-leading eighth point, while Michael Frolik scored the game's first goal and Shawn Matthias added a goal and an assist against the Canadiens. Frolik and Matthias had been healthy scratches two of the previous three games.
"Frolik responded, and Matthias responded with his best game," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think that was important.
"We did what we had to do on the road. We got great goaltending."
Vokoun's performance was a welcome site for the Panthers (4-5-0), who had lost three of four and are the only last-place team in the NHL outscoring its opponents.
Vokoun is 4-0-1 with a 1.95 GAA in his last five home starts against the Thrashers, with the last regulation loss being March 27, 2008.
Atlanta (5-4-2) looks to solve Vokoun with its surging offensive attack. The Thrashers have scored three or more goals in eight of 11 games, led by Evander Kane's six.
However, Atlanta is coming off a 4-3 shootout loss at St. Louis on Saturday in which it blew a 3-1 lead entering the third period.
"It was a good effort by our guys," coach Craig Ramsay said. "We just kind of tired out near the end."
Andrew Ladd had two assists to give him a team-best 12 points and Dustin Byfuglien has recorded a point in five of his last six games.
Nik Antropov had a goal and an assist and has three points in two games after going scoreless in seven straight.
Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves in his first game back since an on-ice fainting spell less than three minutes into the season opener, hitting his head and suffering a concussion.
"I was so excited to be back, couldn't wait," Pavelec said. "I tried to focus. I felt pretty good after the first couple shots."
These teams split four meetings last season, with each winning twice at home.The Panthers begin a stretch of playing four of their next five at the BankAtlantic Center, where they've only played three times (2-1-0).