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The Afterburners: Winnipeg Jets Win Game, Lose #GreatestTankBattle in 5-4 OT Victory Over the Florida Panthers

The game started with so much promise, as 33 minutes into the game the Winnipeg Jets trailed the Florida Panthers 3-0 and appeared to have finally signed on to play #greatesttankbattles. Unfortunately, a great pass from Spencer Machacek (damn this kid has impressed) to Evander Kane jump-started the Jets offense, and in the 11 minutes that followed Kane's 30th of the season the Jets put three more past Jose Theodore to take the lead. Apparently Jets and Tanks don't get along on the battlefield.

Despite being hobbled by the direct missile hit, our Tank appeared to rally late in the game. Tomas Kopecky scored from an awful angle late in the 3rd, and with roughly 20 seconds left in the game the Tank appeared to have the Jets in its sights for the kill-shot as Tomas Fleishmann was sprung on a breakaway. One-on-one with Ondrej Pavelec. Southeast Division on the line. Pavelec with an iffy record in the breakaway contest. And Ondrej the Giant stones him cold. The kill-shot missed the Jets by inches, and in overtime the Jets returned with a kill-shot of their own.

Andrew Ladd scored his second OT-winner in three games, effectively destroying the 2011-12 Tank for good. The "Road Warrior" Jets finally found out how to win on the road, as they have managed to pick up 5 of 6 points so far on this four game road trip with a visit to Nassau Coliseum still to come. Ugh. Nothing like waiting until it's too late to figure out how to win on the road. Good on them for coming back from the 3-0 deficit when they have nothing left to play for but pride, but did they really have to win this game? Come on boys. Even the Maple Leafs have finally figured out how to tank properly, as they blew two two-goal leads in a 6-5 OT loss to the Sabres.

Recap and thoughts on the game after The Jump.

Final - 4.3.2012 1 2 3 OT Total
Winnipeg Jets 0 2 2 1 5
Florida Panthers 2 1 1 0 4

Complete Coverage >

1st Period: 12:03 FLA Marco Sturm 3 (Dmitry Kulikov) 14:00 FLA Kris Versteeg 23 PP (Tomas Fleischmann, Brian Campbell)

2nd Period: 0:25 FLA Tomas Fleischmann 27 (Kris Versteeg) 13:15 WPG Evander Kane 30 (Spencer Machacek, Zach Bogosian) 17:21 WPG Zach Bogosian 4 (Unassisted)

3rd Period: 0:53 WPG Andrew Ladd 26 (Dustin Byfuglien, Bryan Little) 3:54 WPG Bryan Little 24 PP (Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien) 16:07 FLA Tomas Kopecky 10 (Marco Sturm)

Overtime: 3:12 WPG Andrew Ladd 27 (Blake Wheeler)

Shots: FLA 38 WPG 30

3 Stars: 1) Andrew Ladd 2) Tomas Kopecky 3) Zach Bogosian

Thoughts from the Tarmac:

  • The Florida Panthers appeared to have this game under control, as they were up 3-0 and at one point had a 20-6 shot advantage over the Jets. Did they take the foot off of the gas? This OT loss could cost the Panthers a playoff spot, as they watched Buffalo storm back for the win while they threw away two points themselves.
  • I hate Kris Versteeg. Not sure why, but I do. And I'm pretty sure it's not because he's killed the Jets all season. Maybe it's the hair cut. Whatever it is, I'm not a fan.
  • Seriously, what is up with Spencer Machacek? Another assist in 14:00 of ice-time and a +1 rating. I think we'll be seeing him around the MTS Centre a lot next season...
  • Congrats to Evander Kane for netting his 30th of the season. Next up: 40 goals. Still a ways to go before the rarified air of 60 goals that Steven Stamkos is currently looking at, but pretty solid for #9 of your Winnipeg Jets.
  • The Jets were flat out AWFUL for the first half of this game. But a switch was somehow flicked, as they ran the show for the final 10 minutes of the second period and for a long time in the 3rd. It's good to see that Noel has his boys still playing hard despite having nothing to play of.
  • But seriously guys... Did you really have to win tonight? Down 3-0? Your effort is appreciated, but these past three games have seriously put a dent in our chances of getting in the draft lottery.
  • However, I've seen some quotes from Mike Yeo in Minnesota and Kirk Muller in Carolina that winning these meaningless games late in the season and coming together as a team when you are only playing for each other is worth more then 3-4 spots in the Entry Draft. Thoughts? With the majority of this roster coming back next year, maybe they're right.
  • However, we suck really bad at sucking. We are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever attempted to #SuckForGalchenyuk.
  • Having said that, someone said that if Calgary gets another 2 points then the worst we can finish is 10th in the Draft. That's still not bad.
  • I thought that Patrice Cormier looked pretty good out their with Chris Thorburn and Jim Slater. He definetely contributed to Bogosian's goal by causing a ruckus in front of the net.
  • Despite failing to tank properly tonight, if we managed to play a leading role in causing the Florida Panthers to miss the playoffs... That would be worth the drop of one or two spots in the draft. I hate the Panthers.
  • Perhaps we should just run the table. Wins over the Islanders and the Lightning would certainly help player morale heading into the offseason. Not so much for us here cheering for #greatesttankbattles, but it is what it is.