After an embarrassing road trip, the Winnipeg Jets returned home to the MTS Centre hoping to end a three game losing streak against the Florida Panthers. The Jets fell behind in the first period, but managed to come back and eventually win the game with only a handful of seconds remaining in overtime on a goal from Bryan Little.
Ondrej Pavelec did not look terrific in the game, but after his recent performances a night where he gives up only two goals on seventeen shots while looking serviceable is a step in the right direction.
The game got off to a plodding start as neither team was able to generate much in the way of scoring chances. It took over six minutes for the Jets to get credit for their first shot on goal and there were only three minutes left in the period when Winnipeg had their first dangerous scoring chance on a soft backhand shot from Bryan Little that floated off the crossbar.
Florida struck for the first goal of the game late in the first when Drew Shore dipsy doodled into the offensive zone, undressing Tobias Enstrom in the process, before zipping a shot that was stopped by Pavelec but rebounded straight to Jonathan Huberdeau who calmly deposited the puck into the net.
The pace of play picked up considerably in the second period. The two teams traded goals early in the frame. Enstrom tried to atone for his prior miscue by whipping a beautiful stretch pass to Blake Wheeler who was waiting at the Panthers blue line. Wheeler stepped into the offensive zone and ripped a shot by Scott Clemmensen that was redirected by Panther defenceman Keaton Ellerby.
The Panthers quickly regained their one goal lead when they won an offensive zone faceoff and Tomas Fleischmann sent a relatively soft shot through traffic that Pavelec did not see until the puck was in the net.
With eight minutes left in the second Winnipeg tied the score again when Mark Stuart took a shot from the point that went through traffic -- various observers thought that Alexander Burmistrov or Andrew Ladd might be credited for the goal -- before beating Clemmensen.
The third period differed from the first by having plenty of action. But the shots on goal were rare, and no goals were scored. Both teams had to kill penalties late in the period to keep the game tied.
Claude Noel mixed up his penalty killing units by giving cameos to Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd and Evander Kane while shorthanded. Normally, a night that sees the team kill two penalties is not noteworthy, but after the Jets' recent stretch Claude Noel must be filling pretty good about tonight's performance.
In overtime, Olli Jokinen missed the net on a glorious power play opportunity but the Jets did not let the man advantage go to waste as Little managed to pot the overtime winner with only fifteen seconds remaining in the game -- and six seconds remained in the power play. Little received a pass from Zach Redmond in the middle of the ice and walked in before wristing the puck past Clemmensen.
- Tobias Enstrom's assist on the Wheeler goal extends his point streak to seven games. Enstrom currently leads all NHL defenseman in points.
- Zach Redmond picked up his first and second points of his NHL career by assisting on the Stuart and Little goals. Overall Redmond had a very impressive game.
- Mark Scheifele was back in the press box as a healthy scratch. One must think that his days on the Jets roster this season are drawing to a close.
- The Jets managed only three shots in the first period, two shots in the third period, but they did get fourteen shots on net in the second.