Jets slip by Panthers in OT
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Dustin Byfuglien scored the game winner with 40.5 seconds left in overtime to lift the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday.
Andrew Ladd registered a goal and an assist, while Blake Wheeler also lit the lamp for the Jets, who have won two straight since a 4-1 setback in Florida on Tuesday.
"I thought we were a lot better in the way we wanted to play and the way we wanted to get things done," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel remarked. "It wasn't smooth, but I felt that the team wanted to get it done and they did."
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 38 shots in the triumph.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Shawn Matthias each scored once, while Jacob Markstrom allowed all three goals on 28 shots for the Panthers, who have dropped two straight and five of their last six games.
"Overtime has been a real Achilles' heel for us," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen admitted. "You lose five games at home in overtime, that's disappointing for our players and for our fan base."
Byfuglien had gone his last 13 games without a goal, but picked a perfect time to notch his fourth tally of the season, as the Winnipeg defenseman stepped through two defenders in the slot before rifling a wrister past the glove side of Markstrom to send the Jets to victory.
Winnipeg struck first just over 2 1/2 minutes in when Ladd ripped a shot from the left circle that Markstrom got a piece of, but it wasn't enough to keep the puck from trickling across the goal line to make it 1-0 at the 2:35 mark.
The visitors doubled their cushion with just over two minutes left in the frame when Wheeler skated into the slot and was given plenty of room before firing a wrister high over the glove of Markstrom at the 17:48 mark.
Florida was able to trim the margin in half heading into the second, as Peter Mueller slid a pass in front from behind the net that Huberdeau knocked out of midair and past Pavelec to make it 2-1 with 12.9 seconds left in the first.
After a scoreless second stanza, Florida found the equalizer early in the third, as Tomas Kopecky came up with a steal near the Winnipeg blue line and skated into the right circle before sliding a backhand pass through the slot for Matthias, who lifted the disc over a sprawling Pavelec to knot the game at the 5:50 mark.
Florida outshot Winnipeg 12-4 in the third frame, but Pavelec was able to make a number of big saves to keep it tied.
Florida forward Kris Versteeg (upper-body injury) returned from a 12-game absence and recorded two shots in just under 19 minutes ... The teams have split four games this season and will wrap up the series on April 11 in Winnipeg ... Florida finished 0-for-4 on the power play, while Winnipeg failed on its only chance with the man advantage.
03/09 02:06:36 ET