ATLANTA (AP) -- The Panthers earned the win they had to have. In
the end, it still wasn't enough to keep Florida in the playoff
Despite a coming from behind to beat the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-2,
on Thursday night, the Panthers were were eliminated from the
David Booth scored with 4:25 left in the third period to lift
Florida to a victory, but the Panthers (91 points) needed more
help from around the NHL to stay in the Eastern Conference
They didn't get it.
"You look back for one point throughout the year - that's hard
to take," Booth said.
The Rangers' 2-1 victory against Philadelphia gave New York (93
points) a playoff spot, and the Montreal Canadiens (93) locked
up a spot when they earned at a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to
Florida, New York and Montreal all have a game left, but the
Canadiens and Rangers hold the tiebreakers with Florida.
"You don't lose it (playoff chance) in the last few games. It's
the whole course of the season. It's about consistency,"
Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun said.
Nathan Horton and Cory Stillman also scored for Florida.
"It's really important that we at least gave ourselves a chance
(by winning this game). We were able to do that," Horton said.
"Regardless of what happened tonight I am very proud of how we
played and showed up tonight," said Florida coach Peter DeBoer.
Defenseman Zach Bogosian scored twice for Atlanta.
"They were desperate and they came out on top. It's obviously
not what we wanted," the 18-year-old rookie said.
The Panthers tied it at 2 when Stillman tipped in a shot by
Gregory Campbell early in the third period.
Booth scored his 29th goal by knocking in his own rebound past
Atlanta goaltender Johan Hedberg. Stephen Weiss had drew an
assist, his second of the game.
Stillman's 17th goal came 50 seconds after Bogosian scored a
short-handed goal to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead. Bogosian shot the
puck over the left shoulder of Vokoun from 15 feet out after a
pass from Marty Reasoner for his ninth of the season.
"He's playing real well," Atlanta's leading scorer and captain
Ilya Kovalchuk said of Bogosian. "He's got some confidence. He's
skating with the puck, and he knows how to skate, so he'll be
scary good in a couple of years."
The Panthers tied it at 1 with 3:20 remaining in the second
period on a power play goal by Horton, his 22nd. The play was
reviewed by officials and ruled a goal after video showed the
shot hit high inside the net past Hedberg and bounced out.
The Thrashers had taken a 1-0 lead at 9:17 of the opening period
when Bogosian scored on a power-play, beating Vokoun with a
20-foot shot from the point.