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Thrashers win first game back from break
Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss takes a shot on Atlanta Thrashers goaltender Johan Hedberg as Thrashers Zach Bogosian defends during the first period Tuesday at Philips Arena in Atlanta. - photo by The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Rich Peverley scored and added an assist to reach 100 career points, and Johan Hedberg made 34 saves as the Atlanta Thrashers defeated the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Colby Armstrong, Todd White and Pavel Kubina also scored for Atlanta, which returned from the Olympic break just outside a playoff spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference.

Stephen Weiss scored for Florida and David Booth, who missed 45 games with a concussion, had his first goal since Oct. 24 and had an assist. Backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen made his first start time since Dec. 27 and made 35 saves.

Atlanta took the lead for good on White's power-play goal off a feed from Peverley 7:33 into the second period.

Kubina made it a two-goal edge with 5:13 left in the second period, blasting a shot from the left side past Clemmensen just as another Atlanta power play was expiring.

Clemmensen was in net instead of Thomas Vokoun, who started 21 consecutive games for Florida before playing for the Czech Republic in the Olympics. The subject of trade rumors, Vokoun is scheduled to start Wednesday night when the Panthers play at Philadelphia.

The Thrashers took an early 2-0 lead on goals 69 seconds apart on the second and third shots Clemmensen faced. Peverley scored on a wrister from the right faceoff circle 2:34 in. Armstrong then beat Clemmensen from almost the same spot.

The lead didn't last long, though, as Florida regrouped after a timeout. Weiss knocked in a rebound on a power play 5:58 into the first period, and Booth beat Hedberg from straightaway after a Florida rush with 10:45 gone. It was the third goal of the season for Booth, who missed 45 games with a concussion before returning Jan. 31.

NOTES: The Thrashers will reassign 48-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios back to Chicago of the AHL if he clears waivers Wednesday. He signed a two-way contract with Atlanta on Tuesday. ... D Christoph Schubert returned to the Atlanta lineup after missing 13 games because of a knee injury. He had been on IR since Jan. 18. ... RW Evgeny Artyukhin, acquired by the Thrashers on Monday from Anaheim, was delayed in arriving in Atlanta. ... D Jason Garrison, called up from Rochester of the AHL to take the roster spot of Jordan Leopold, was in Florida's lineup. Leopold was traded to Pittsburgh on Monday. ... LW Slava Kozlov, who has requested a trade, was a healthy scratch for the eighth time in 10 games.

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