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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 20th (All times Eastern)
Florida Panthers (14-17-5) at Winnipeg Jets (15-16-5), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - On the verge of sweeping their road trip through Canada, the Florida Panthers aim to post their longest winning streak in almost six years on Friday night as they visit the Winnipeg Jets.
The Panthers are riding a season-high five-game winning streak, with the last three wins coming on the road in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Florida has allowed just four goals so far on the trip, half of those coming in last night's 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Down 2-1 after the first period, Aleksander Barkov tied the game with 2:49 to go in the second period before some late special teams play lifted the Panthers.
Tom Gilbert scored on the power play with 2:32 left in the game and following a tripping call to Mike Weaver shortly after, Tomas Kopecky added insurance with a short-handed tally.
"It was a great effort," said Gilbert. "I don't necessarily think it was our best game but our special teams have been struggling and it's nice to have that come through, especially late in the game."
Scott Clemmensen picked up the victory thanks to 32 saves in his fourth straight start.
Florida has won seven of its last eight and is 11-8-1 under interim coach Peter Horachek. The club has won five straight for the first time since March 11-20, 2012 and is now looking to secure its longest winning streak since a seven-game tear from March 2-16, 2008.
The Jets have struggled to losses in four of their last five, but are likely to have defenseman Zach Bogosian back in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 15. He has been out with a strained groin, but said on Thursday he has been cleared to play.
"I felt good today. I've felt good for a couple days now. It's feeling good," said Bogosian on Thursday.
Bogosian has a goal and three assists in 21 games this season to go along with a plus-8 rating while averaging 22 minutes and 50 seconds of ice time per contest.
"The thing with Zach is that he's got weight, he's passionate, he can get the puck stopped, he can jump up and he can do a lot of things where you can see him," noted Jets coach Claude Noel. "He can be an effective player in the games. He's a guy that should be in your top four and pretty much has been since I've been here. He's a guy that can really help you.
"We look forward to having him back in the lineup."
The Jets could have used Bogosian's presence on Tuesday when they allowed the Buffalo Sabres to rally for a 4-2 win.
Mark Scheifele scored a pair of goals during a 36-second span early in the second period, but the Sabres found the back of the net before the end of the period and then scored three times in the third.
"We thought they would just fold up," Noel said of taking the early lead. "Obviously that wasn't the case."
Ondrej Pavelec allowed four goals on 31 shots.
The Jets lost to their former division rivals 5-2 in Florida on Dec. 5 after winning three of the five encounters last season when both were playing in the Southeast Division.
The Panthers have lost three in a row in Winnipeg.
12/20 10:54:01 ET