Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Blake Wheeler netted the decider in the third round of the shootout, as Atlanta took a 4-3 decision over Philadelphia at Philips Arena.
Rob Schremp tallied to start the second round, but it was Wheeler’s odd tally which eventually ended the contest after a Danny Briere miss.
Wheeler skated in from an angle just to the right of center ice, then lost control of the puck as he neared the crease. Brian Boucher inexplicably failed to follow the play, and Wheeler was able to regain control and slide the shot home.
Tim Stapleton, Bryan Little and Nik Antropov tallied for the Thrashers, who have won four of six and topped the Flyers for the second time in five days.
Ondrej Pavelec made 21 stops for the victory.
Briere scored twice and Claude Giroux once for the Flyers, who had won three of four coming in. Boucher ended up losing after making 22 saves.
Pavelec kept the game scoreless with a glove stop on a partial breakaway from Braydon Coburn, and his acumen was rewarded when Stapleton put the Thrashers on the board at 6:59 of the first period, when he snuck a low shot from the right wing through Boucher’s pads.
Giroux evened the game at 9:20, when he finished off a passing play between Matt Carle and Briere by scoring inside the right post.
Little was untouched in front to chip a Ron Hainsey rebound over a fallen Boucher at 4:35 of the second period, but Briere tapped a loose puck inside the near post with 5 1/2 to play in the second for a 2-2 tie.
Antropov ripped a shot home from the hashmarks with 2:08 left and Atlanta led by one after 40 minutes.
Philly killed off two consecutive Atlanta power plays around the midway point of the third, then Scott Hartnell missed a wide-open net off a diving dish from Ville Leino with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
Briere eventually netted the equalizer, beating Pavelec to a rebound from inside the crease despite Dustin Byfuglien’s tight checking with 1:28 to go.
Atlanta has won two of three over Philadelphia this season, and six of the last seven meetings since the start of last year…The Thrashers improved to 4-7 in shootouts this season and the Flyers fell to 2-4.