Winnipeg Jets 5 Florida Panthers 2 – With the win the Jets snap a six game home winless streak and climb back to .500 at home and .500 overall (16-16-5). The win also snapped Florida's winning streak at five games. Jets are 10-4-1 vs. Eastern Conference teams this season.
Shawn Matthias opened the scoring off a Jets turnover, despite the Jets getting off to a great start. The Panthers first shot on goal did not come until the sixth minute of the game. Jacob Trouba had an attempted pass go off defenceman Tom Gilbert and in to tie the game at 11:06. It was Trouba's second of the season. Mark Scheifele and Evander Kane picked up assists. The Panthers then ran into penalty trouble putting the Jets on a five-on-three for over a minute and a half. Toby Enstrom, with his third of the year gave the Jets the lead with assists from Olli Jokinen and Dustin Byfuglien. The Jets are now four for six this season when holding a two-man advantage. 33 seconds after the Enstrom power play marker, the Jets power play clicked again, with Blake Wheeler deflecting a Zach Bogosian shot for his 12th of the year and fifth on the power play. Trouba also had an assist giving him two points in the period. The Jets power play has now scored seven goals in the last six games, going seven for 23, including two for four in this game, the fourth time this season the Jets have scored two power play goals in a game. It was a chippy first period with the Jets outshooting the Panthers 13-9.
Evander Kane with his ninth made it a 4-1 game early in the second, converting a pass from Michael Frolik. Scheifele picked up his second assist of the night, giving him back to back multiple point games. Nick Bjugstad scored the Panthers' second unassisted goal of the night, again off a Jets giveaway, to make it 4-2, but Frolik restored the three goal lead at 17:53. It was his ninth of the year with assists going to Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Despite some late period pressure by Florida, that's the way the second ended. Ondrej Pavelec was at his best late, in the second as he faced five shots in the final couple of minutes. Pavelec picked up his first win in his last six starts. Shots in the second were 9-5 Jets.
No scoring in the third with the Jets outshooting the Panthers 10-9 for a 32-23 final. Jets have now out shot their opponent in seven of their last eight games. Of note in the third was an altercation between Kane and Scottie Upshall, as the two were at each other most of the night, starting in the first period when they went off together. Kane picked up the extra as the Jets went a perfect four for four on the PK.
Trouba, Kane, Byfuglien, Scheifele, and Frolik all had two point nights. Scheifele extended his point streak to five games (3-4-7), and now has 12 points in his last 13 games. Since November 23rd, Scheifele is the league's top rookie point getter. Frolik has 11 points in his last 14 games, while Kane has gone 2-2-4 in three games since missing six games because of injury. Wheeler has now scored seven goals in the last nine games, Byfuglien has four assists in the last four games and leads the team in assists with 20. For only the second time this season Bryan Little has gone back to back games without a point. Little was 68% in the face off department winning 15 of 22. Jets picked up six points from defencemen in the win and six points from the Scheifele line with Kane and Frolik. Byfuglien has 13 power play points on the Jets 18 power play goals. Bogosian, back after missing 15 games due to injury, played 17:44, had one assist and was a plus one. He leads the team in plus-minus at plus nine. Wheeler led the way in shots with six, Kane in hits with six, Byfuglien in ice time with 25:34. Ladd has a five game point streak vs. Florida (3-4-7).
It was the Jets final home game before the Christmas break, with two more road games to be played. Jets are in Vancouver Sunday (7 pm central time), and in Edmonton Monday (8:30 central time) both games TSN Jets and TSN 1290. Next home game is the 27th against Minnesota.
"It's good to win at home," stated Coach Claude Noel. "It's been a while. We came out hard. Wanted to take advantage of their travel and the fact it was back to back games for them. Lots of emotion in the first period. The second lulled, and the third period was one of our better third periods. We played the right way, supported the puck." As for the first period power play goals, "You want results off a five on three. Tough when you don't score. It worked out good for us. Really helped us out getting two. We had a good offensive night from a lot of guys and had a pretty good night from every player." On two point nights for Scheifele and Trouba, "our young guys are good players. They've proven that. Mark has grown the way we thought he would grow. Proves there is a process, and it works. It takes time. He's playing the way we and he thought he would."
Not dressed for the Jets were Paul Postma, Keaton Ellerby, Anthony Peluso (game three of his three game suspension), Matt Halischuk, Jim Slater and Grant Clitsome.