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Game #41 Preview and GDT: Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers

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Winnipeg was nearly felled by its own penalty kill last night

NHL: Florida Panthers at Winnipeg Jets Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets (18-19-3) aim for a return to .500 hockey tonight against a Florida Panthers (16-14-8) squad looking to go on a playoff push.

Winnipeg is coming off a thrilling 6-4 victory last night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, one which featured three point nights from both Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine. While Laine iced the game with his 20th goal of the season, it was Ehlers' heroics which stole the show. The 20-year-old gave the Jets a three-goal cushion in the third period, but not before he scored this penalty shot to put Winnipeg up 2-1 in the second:

A 6-4 game is going to have plenty of contributors, and Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Jacob Trouba all had two point nights. Despite playing yesterday, Connor Hellebuyck will get the nod again tonight against Florida. Given the gap between now and Winnipeg's next game, it would be no surprise to see Helle against the Sabres on Saturday. In the meantime, yesterday showed a bit of resilience from the 23-year-old:

It's been a middling season for the Florida Panthers, including of late with a record of 1-1-3 in their last five. If there's solace to be taken for Panthers fans, it's that they're just four points behind the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic Division, with two games in hand. Winnipeg faces a second hobbled team in a row, with Florida missing forwards Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Colton Sceviour, plus defenceman Alex Petrovic.

Jaromir Jagr keeps chugging along, and the 93-year-old's seven points in the last six games have him on pace for 15 goals and 50 points. With 24 points in 31 games played, versatile 5'9" winger Jonathan Marchessault has proven one of the best bargain UFA signings of the summer. Defenceman Keith Yandle was no bargain, but the 30-year-old continues to fit into his role of Panthers offensive quarterback, leading the d-corps with 18 points.

When, Where & How

Wednesday, Jan. 4, 6:00 p.m. CT, BB&T Center
TV: SN1, SNW, SNP, FS-F
Radio: WMEN-AM FOX Sports 640, TSN 1290

Winnipeg Jets Projected Lineup

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Nikolaj Ehlers Mark Scheifele Patrik Laine
Mathieu Perreault Bryan Little Blake Wheeler
Shawn Matthias Adam Lowry Joel Armia
Andrew Copp Nic Petan Drew Stafford
Left Defence
Right Defence
Josh Morrissey Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom Jacob Trouba
Ben Chiarot Paul Postma
Goaltenders
Connor Hellebuyck
Michael Hutchinson

Florida Panthers Projected Lineup

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Seth Griffith Vincent Trocheck Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen Nick Bjugstad Reilly Smith
Jonathan Marchessault Michael Sgarbossa Denis Malgin
Greg McKegg Derek MacKenzie Shawn Thornton
Left Defence
Right Defence
Kaith Yandle Jason Demers
Michael Matheson Aaron Ekblad
Mark Pysyk Jakub Kindl
Goaltenders
Roberto Luongo
James Reimer