NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 5th (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (13-12-4) at Florida Panthers (7-16-5), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets will try to pick up another win on what has so far been a successful road trip when they visit the sliding Florida Panthers for Thursday's clash at the BB&T Center.
The Jets were mired in a four-game losing streak before beginning their current stretch of six straight on the road. Winnipeg is 3-1-0 at the start of the swing and will complete the trip with two stops in the Sunshine State. After Thursday's tilt against the Panthers, the Jets will cap the trek Saturday in Tampa.
Winnipeg is coming off Monday's 5-2 win over the New York Rangers, a victory that improved the Jets' road record this season to 6-6-1. The score was tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes, but Olli Jokinen scored twice in the third period to help send the Jets to the win at Madison Square Garden.
Jokinen gave the Jets a 3-2 edge at the 12:42 mark of the third and struck again with 1:54 remaining before Blake Wheeler provided an empty-netter inside the final minute.
Devin Setoguchi and John Albert, making his NHL debut, scored 1:44 apart in the second period for the Jets, while Ondrej Pavelec earned the win with a 35- save effort.
"I thought we got some good production from a lot of people," said Jets coach Claude Noel.
Winnipeg won Monday despite playing without forward Evander Kane, who sat out with a lower-body injury. The forward has seven goals and seven assists in 26 games this season and is questionable for Thursday's tilt.
The Jets hope to stay hot on the road in tonight's matchup, which has been a favorable one for the club in recent years. Winnipeg has won five of the last seven meetings against the Panthers overall, although Florida has three wins in the past five encounters in Sunrise.
The Panthers enter Thursday's meeting on a three-game slide and have failed to earn a point during that skid. The club dropped a 4-2 home decision against Ottawa on Tuesday and the loss moved Florida to 4-7-1 since head coach Kevin Dineen was fired and replaced by Peter Horachek on an interim basis.
Florida jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Sens, but Ottawa would tie it by the end of the opening period. Ottawa's Colin Greening then scored the game- winner on the power play with just 43 seconds remaining in the second.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Brian Campbell lit the lamp for the Panthers, losers in five of their last six. Tim Thomas played well in defeat, making 41 saves.
"I'm very frustrated. I feel like we're close but we still make those major mistakes that cost us all the time," said Campbell.
Florida is completing a five-game homestand tonight. The Panthers began the stay on home ice with a win over Philadelphia before losing three straight in regulation to fall to 4-7-3 as the host this season.
12/05 10:34:13 ET