The effort was there on this night, in stark contrast to what played out Saturday in Nashville, but the result remained depressing.
Atlanta's Maxim Afinogenov - left for dead by Buffalo last season (and who could blame them?) - scored at 19:54 of the third period at Philips Arena to seal it for the home boys. Florida showed heart by erasing three deficits to keep it close throughout the evening, with goals by Michael Frolik, Stephen Weiss, and Rostislav Olesz. Wasn't enough.
The Big Story was obviously Keith Ballard's inadvertent hit on Tomas Vokoun. "Tvo" is being described as "alert and responsive" while receiving treatment at an Atlanta hospital. Godspeed, Tomas.
It was a stick swung out of frustration, and a complete accident. The story here is that there really isn't one; a freakish incident.
Notes: The Thrashers led in SOG 35-28. Nathan Horton (1a) paced the Panthers in TOI with 22:54, which was second among both clubs (ATL defenseman Zach Bogosian had a scant three additional seconds). Where's Stevie Mac? FLA's resident pugilist left the bench for all of 1:33. Vokoun left the game after 3 saves on 5 shots. Gregory Campbell did not wind up with PP time. Every Panther was either "even" or minus-1. Frolik led his club with six SOG. Scott Clemmensen finished with 28 saves on 30 shots, while Johan Hedberg stopped 25 of 28. Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 15th goal of the season.
Our best to Tvo for a quick recovery.