Winnipeg Jets 7 Florida Panthers 2 – With the win the Jets extend their winning streak to three games, all at the MTS Centre as they continue a six game home stand. The Jets, who have played the most games in the NHL, now get a break in the schedule with their next game not until Tuesday, at home against Tampa Bay Lightning, with the home stand coming to a close with games Thursday against Carolina Hurricanes and Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders. (All games TSN Jets and TSN 1290.) The Jets are still outside the top eight in the East as they did not get any help on the out of town scoreboard.
The scoring was fast and furious in the first against the Panthers. Aaron Gagnon scored his second in as many games at 3:54 but 52 seconds later TJ Brennan tied the game. 18 seconds after that Evander Kane restored the lead only to have Tomas Fleischmann tie it 1:27 later. Before the period was out Andrew Ladd (16th) put the Jets in front for good. Jets outshot Panthers 17-9 in the first. Coach Claude Noel called a time out after the Fleischmann goal asking his team to tighten up defensively.
The Jets blew the game open in the second with three straight goals, giving them 10 goals in the second period over the past three games. With George Parros off for tripping it took Grant Clitsome (4th) nine seconds to make it a two goal lead. That was followed 18 seconds later by a Dustin Byfuglien goal (7th), which was followed 1:22 later by Kane's second of the night (16th) as the second period ended 6-2 Jets.
Jets did have a five on three in the second and for the seventh time this season failed to score with the two man advantage. Parros took a double minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, and that was followed by a major to Eric Gudbransson for a hit to the head of Bryan Little. Little would need repairs but would return. The only goal of the third was a deflection by Chris Thorburn (2nd).
Ladd, Kane, Little, Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian all had two point nights. Kane now had 3-2-5 in the last three games, Ladd ran his point streak to four, 2-4-6, Little with two assists is 1-5-6 in the last three games with three straight two point games, while Wellwood extended his point streak to five games, 2-3-5. After being a plus three against Buffalo, Clitsome was again a plus three, while Byfuglien lead the team at plus four.
Byfuglien had five shots on goal after going back to back games without a shot on goal. Clitsome also had five shots on goal. Byfuglien lead the Jets in ice time at 24:08.
The Jets top line of Ladd, Little and Wheeler has now combined for 15 points over the past three games. Ondrej Pavelec won his 18th game of the year.
Jets have now scored first in three of the last four games, and also scored a power play goal that snapped a 0-21 drought over the past seven games. In the last 13 games that Little has picked up a point, the Jets are 13-0.
On the back and forth in the first period Coach Claude Noel had this to say – "There's growth, there's lessons to be learned," adding, "there will be a lot of levels of joy in the next few days. A lot of guys played good, it's contagious."
As for the plan for the next few days, "It will be a time to recharge the batteries, get away from the rink. Rest up for the final six games we have to win."