After five games of mostly staying out of the penalty box the Winnipeg Jets have seen that trend change the past two games. In Montreal, there were some questionable calls, while in Florida on Thursday night it was simply ill-advised penalties that did them in, in a 6-3 loss. Florida went 3-6 with the man advantage, the six being a season-high in penalties for the Jets.
Special teams were the story. In the first period the Jets had a 45 second five-on-three, their first two-man advantage of the season, but they failed to score. In the second period they were down two men for the first time this season, with Brian Campbell blasting one that seemed to go over someone in front and past Ondrej Pavelec to open the scoring. But before the period was out, Grant Clitsome with his first of the year and first as a Jet tied the game as he had time to tee one up from the line.
The third period was wild. Former Panther captain Olli Jokinen put the Jets in front at 1:23, only to have Kris Versteeg, with his first of the year, tie it up 2:11 later. Toby Enstrom, with his first of the year, to go along with seven assists, put the Jets back in front at 7:38. Then in a span of 4:09, aided by penalties to Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jokinen, the Panthers scored three to take a 5-3 lead.
They would add an empty netter and win 6-3 to snap a five-game losing streak and hand the Jets their second straight loss to even their record a 3-3-1. Peter Mueller and Alex Kovalev, with back-to-back power play goals, and Jonathan Huberdeau five-on-five took the Panthers from one down to two up. Tomas Kopecky rounded out the scoring.
Coach Claude Noel was not happy with what he called bad penalties. “Behind their net is not a good penalty to take. It's a 60-minute game and we came apart in the third. But it wasn't just the PK. There were other areas. Faceoffs were atrocious. You never start with the puck.”
Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler did pick up assists, so along with Enstrom all three extended their point streaks to five.
Earlier in the day Dustin Byfuglien suffered a tweak that kept him out of the lineup. He is listed as day-to-day. The game also saw the NHL debut of Zach Redmond. The 23-year-old defenceman put in 20:56 of ice time, had three shots on goal, three hits and ended the game a plus-1. On the down side, he did pick up a double minor for high sticking.
Jets will try and get something out of this three game road trip with a game tonight in Tampa. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290)
Interesting stat from Florida: they scored five goals in their first game (four in the first period), five goals in their next five games, then five goals in the third period tonight. Ondrej Pavelec faced 34 shots in suffering his first career loss in Florida.