The Jets prevailed over the Panthers 4-3 in a shootout at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida on Monday night. The Panthers outshot the Jets 42-31 on the night, however once the shootout rolled around, Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec barred the door on the three Florida shooters, and goals by Andrew Ladd and Kyle Wellwood lifted the Jets to their first shootout win of the season.
The line of Ladd, Wellwood and Bryan Little got the Jets off to a great start with some early pressure on the first shift of the game. The trio then notched the first goal of the contest at 3:44, when Ladd found himself with the puck behind the goal line to Florida goalie Jose Theodore’s right. After seeing that Little was covered, Ladd opted to pass to Wellwood who was moving into the slot. Wellwood one-timed the puck into the net on Theodore’s stickside.
The first penalty of the night came at 8:40 when Scottie Upshall got the gate for elbowing Evander Kane in the head area. Just over a minute into the powerplay, Kane made Upshall and the Panthers pay when he corralled the puck at the top of the circle to the right of Theodore before whipping a hard snapshot low to Theodore’s stickside at 9:58 of the opening frame.
Dustin Byfuglien was caught for high sticking Tomas Fleischmann at 12:57, giving the Panthers their first powerplay opportunity of the game. The Panthers moved the puck around nicely, but could not beat the Jets penalty killers.
With only 20 seconds left in the opening period, Panthers defenceman Jason Garrison launched a rising slapshot from the point over the glove of Pavelec, cutting the Jets lead to 2-1.
The story of the first period was the opportunism of the Jets, who scored on two of only seven shots. The Panthers by comparison sent 20 pucks onto the Jets net, however Pavelec was equal to the task on 19 of them.
The Jets and Panthers settled into a slower-paced game in the first half of the 2nd period, as both teams were careful to not give up a great offensive chance to the opposition in the one goal game.
Kenndal McArdle drew the first penalty of the period at 5:39, for hooking. The Panthers were not able to generate much in the way of scoring chances during the man advantage.
Jets defenceman Tobias Enstrom became a focal point in the second half of the second period. First, the diminutive defenceman saved a sure goal when he used his skate to partially block a tap-in by Stephen Weiss at the left edge of the crease, allowing Pavelec to extend his left leg in time to stop the puck on the goal line.
Enstrom then was the victim of a hard hit by Jack Skille deep in the Winnipeg zone. Skille seemed to make contact with Enstrom’s head on the check, sending the Swede toppling to the ice, and out of the game. Enstrom’s defensive partner Dustin Byfuglien stepped in to settle the score with the physically outmatched Skille. Byfuglien was sent off for a roughing double minor after the altercation. Enstrom would not return.
The Panthers were unable to score on the extended powerplay thanks to a great effort by Pavelec and the Jets penalty killers, and the period ended the way it started, with the Jets nursing a 2-1 edge on the scoreboard. After the Jets had opened up an 8-3 lead in shots just after the midpoint of the period, the Panthers roared back to tie the shots count at nine apiece before the buzzer sounded.
Two minutes into the third period, Ladd and Skille dropped the mitts and had a spirited tilt, as the captain no doubt was looking to send a message to the Panthers forward for the earlier hit on Enstrom.
At 3:13 the Panthers were able to even the game at 2-2. Florida forward Mike Weaver fired a shot from the right wing boards through a screen, and the rebound sat at the top of the crease for Fleischmann to deposit into the net.
With the score tied up, the two teams opened up offensively, trading numerous chances at both ends of the ice. Pavelec made a stop off of Stephen Weiss on a two on one chance for Florida with nine and a half minutes left. One minute later, the Panthers’ Kris Versteeg was left alone in the Jets crease, but Pavelec made a great right pad save to keep the game tied.
Following the huge save by Pavelec, Wellwood raced to the other end of the ice and ripped a snapshot that glanced off the left shoulder of Theodore. 30 seconds later, Randy Jones was the beneficiary of a beautiful passing play by Wellwood and Stapleton, but the defenceman was unable to finish.
The Panthers were finally able to break the tie on the powerplay with 2:10 left. After Blake Wheeler was sent off for holding at 16:50, Fleischmann was able to walk into the slot and roof a shot above the glove of Pavelec, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game.
The Jets were quick to tie the game up at 3-3, on a contested goal. Zach Bogosian ripped a point shot on Theodore, and when the rebound bounced up in the air near crossbar height, Wellwood and Kane both got their sticks on the puck, with Kane batting it down through Theodore’s five hole. After review, the goal stood, and we were headed to overtime.
The Jets held the lead in shots in the third period, outshooting Florida 12 to 11.
After a hard-fought three periods, both teams were reluctant to give an inch in overtime, leading to minimal offensive opportunities in the extra frame. Byfuglien had the best chance for the Jets, when he snapped a high shot from the slot before following up the play and hacking his own rebound into the glove of Theodore.
The Jets outshot the Panthers 3-2, but overtime settled nothing, and for the second time on the season the Jets were headed to a shootout.
Stapleton shot first for Winnipeg, but his backhand deke missed the net.
After Pavelec was able to stop Versteeg with the glove, Ladd staked the Jets out to the lead on their second shot, as he victimized Theodore low to the stickside for the third time on the night.
Mike Santorelli was next up for Florida, and like Versteeg he went high glove, but was not able to hit the net.
Kyle Wellwood hopped onto the ice with a chance to win it for the Jets, and after putting Theodore down with a great fake, the shifty forward was able to tuck the puck around Theodore’s left pad, giving the Jets their first shootout win of the season.
The two teams will meet again on November 10th back at MTS Centre.