A 3-1 lead carried into the third. A 3-1 lead blown in the third. Slava Kozlov scores at 6:27 of the final frame to wipe away any memory of Stephen Weiss, Radek Dvorak, and Bryan McCabe's efforts earlier in the evening.
Again, fans could smell it...another dominant game set to fall short after forty minutes. The expected became a most unexpected surprise as the Cats kept their heads. The result? First regulation win in Sunrise since November 4th. Home win number five. Five.
Let that sink in as you prep for the holidays among the crowds in mid-December.
Michael Frolik banged home his 10th of the year at the 18:39 mark, ultimately sealing the victory for Florida (though Atlanta hung on, hung on, hung on until the very end). The Thrashers have surprised, shocked, and impressed the league of late; tonight was no different after Ilya Kovalchuk and Nik Antropov paved the way for Kozlov's stunner.
The payoff? Two points gained. Period. For the first time in recent memory, the Panthers gave up nothing to their opponent at the BankAtlantic Center. Peter DeBoer instilled focus. Believe it.
For the curious: Nathan Horton had two assists.
Tomas Vokoun walled 20 shots as Atlanta's Johan Hedberg stopped 25 in a game which played out as a bit on the wilder shores of defensive responsibility for both clubs.
Florida's Bryan McCabe led the game with - get this - 8 shots on goal. If you can find a Panthers defenseman who topped that since the lockout ended, I'll owe you a Coke.
More to come in the a.m as we prep for a weekend of Jim Rutherford Deathwatch madness...