It was a slow start by both teams, sitting at 1-1 through 40 minutes, but after seven goals in the third period the pace definitely picked up. Unfortunately for the Jets, it was their division rival Panthers who ended up on the winning side of the tilt as they downed the Jets in Sunrise 6-3, Thursday night.
Grant Clitsome and Tobias Enstrom both picked up their first goals of the season tonight for the Jets, while Olli Jokinen tallied his second. It was the three power play goals that Florida was able to put on the board that proved to be the difference.
"Not taking so many penalties would be a good start," said Blake Wheeler post-game. "We were so disciplined the first couple of games. It doesn't matter how good your penalty kill is or your goaltender you keep relying on that over and over again and the other team has their best players on the ice and they're going to create the good scoring chances."
Shots through 60 minutes were 34-25 in favour of the Panthers.
The Jets will board their plane for a quick flight over to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning in another division match-up tomorrow night. Game time is 6:30 pm on TSN Jets.
"We have another game in 24 hours against one of the top teams in the East and in our division right now, so if we can't get up for tomorrow, we have bigger issues."- Wheeler.
The Jets were given the first power play of the night as Shawn Mattias went off for hooking just over the nine-minute mark of the first period. The Panthers then took another penalty putting the Jets on a 5-on-3 for 45 seconds. Jets were able to get a few shots off but couldn't find a way to get that opening goal. Instead, Andrew Ladd went to the box for hooking, putting the Panthers on the advantage. The Jets penalty kill unit stepped up to the challenge and kept the game scoreless.
Ondrej Pavelec looked sharp through the first period of play turning aside 16 shots. Redmond played 8:05 in seven shifts in the first period of his NHL debut, second in ice-time behind Enstrom.
1:22 into the middle frame, Redmond took his first penalty of his NHL career, a high-sticking major putting the Panthers on a four minute power play. Halfway through the kill, Mark Stuart was caught for delay of game as he batted the puck into the mesh, sending the Panthers on a lengthy 5-on-3. With only eight seconds remaining on that two-man advantage, Brian Campbell put his team on the board firing the puck on net that hit a Jet in front of Pavelec and bounced in.
Later in the period, with just under four minutes to play, Grant Clitsome tallied his first of the season and first as a Jet, to tie things 1-1. Ladd sent a long cross-ice pass over to Clitsome all alone on the left point, he wound up and blasted a hard slap shot that rang off the post and into the net.
"It was a great pass by Laddy," said Clitsome. "He sent it over to me and I was all alone, I had a lot of time to wind up, look at the net and get a shot through. I was trying to shoot there (top corner), and weather it went in or it was a rebound, I figured it would pop out in front.
"I thought we had some good spurts there but we got handed in our zone a little bit so we have to limit that. We have to make sure we clean up our zone a little bit and get some shots down in their end."
Just 1:23 into the third period, Jokinen gave the Jets their first lead of the night. Blake Wheeler dug the puck from behind the net and sent a nifty pass onto the stick of Jokinen in the slot, who put it past Theodore. 2-1 Jets.
2:12 after Jokinen's goal, Kris Versteeg answered back for the Panthers and tied the game 2-2. Fleischmann sent a nice pass over to Versteeg who was able to put the puck past Pavelec.
A few minutes later, Tobias Enstrom picked up his first of the season regaining the lead for the Jets. Wheeler started the play dancing across the line and around his defenders. He found Kane close by, who fired a long pass that bounced off the boards and right onto Enstrom's stick. He unleashed a hard slap shot that flew past Theodore into the net.
The Panthers answered right back as Peter Mueller poked away down low on the power play against a tired penalty killing unit to make it 3-3.
Moments later, Jokinen went to the box for tripping and the Panthers pounced on yet another extra man opportunity. This time it was Kovalev to add to the scoreboard giving the Panthers back the lead on the power play with 7:13 to play in regulation. 4-3 Panthers.
Just under three minutes later, things went from bad to worse for the Jets. It started with a costly Jets turnover in the neutral zone. Wheeler tried to lift the stick to break up the play but Huberdeau managed to bank the puck in off of a Jet in the crease to make it 5-3.
Tomas Kopecky added the empty-net goal with 1:28 to play in regulation, sealing the 6-3 victory for the Panthers over the Winnipeg Jets.