Olsen scores 1st NHL goal, helps Panthers beat Jets
The latest trade by the rebuilding Panthers is already paying dividends.
Dylan Olsen scored his first NHL goal Thursday night to help Florida beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-2.
Jimmy Hayes, Nick Bjugstad, Tomas Fleischmann and Erik Gudbranson also scored for the Panthers. Tim Thomas stopped 29 shots and Scottie Upshall had two assists. Olsen also added an assist.
Olsen and Hayes came to the Panthers in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 14 for wings Kris Versteeg and Phillippe Lefebvre.
"They’re good young guys. They’re learning their trade," Florida coach Peter Horachek said. "They both want to be pros. They want to be here."
Olli Jokinen and Andrew Ladd scored for Winnipeg. Ondrej Pavelec made 21 saves.
The Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak and earned their first points during that span.
Olsen broke a 1-all tie at 3:31 of the second period when his wrist shot from the slot beat Pavelec. Upshall got his 100th career assist on the play.
"It’s awesome. It’s your first NHL goal," Olsen said. "It was obviously exciting, but it’s even better to get the win and get off that three-game losing streak."
The Panthers went ahead 3-1 when Fleischmann scored with 2:01 left in the second. A shot by Mike Weaver bounced off Pavelec’s blocker, and Fleischmann poked in the rebound.
Florida stretched its lead to 4-1 at 5:37 of the third. Bjugstad wrapped the puck around from behind the net and bounced it off Pavelec’s leg and into the net.
Jokinen, on his 35th birthday, made it 4-2 with 7:15 left in the game when he put the puck through Thomas’ pads from in front.
Hayes scored with 2:44 remaining on a breakaway to make it 5-2.
The Jets had two days of rest after their 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Monday, but the trip to sunny Florida might have distracted them.
"We didn’t have very many good players. We didn’t play very intelligent, for as good as we were in New York," coach Claude Noel said. "We played way different tonight. We had a hard time getting guys engaged in the game."
The loss dropped the Jets back to .500 at 13-13-4.
"I hope this is not going to bite us (at) the end of the year," Jokinen said. "One game over .500 was a chance to take a step forward."
The Panthers had allowed 14 goals in their previous three games, all losses.
"Fourteen goals is unacceptable," Gudbranson said. "We really stepped up and took care of our own end first and really forced them into nothing. That was really huge for us today."
The Jets took a 1-0 lead on Ladd’s goal 5:27 in. Bryan Little passed from the right side to Ladd in front, and he wristed it into an open net. Little leads the Jets with 27 points.
The Panthers tied it on Gudbranson’s goal. His slap shot from just beyond the right circle rifled past Pavelec on the stick side at 14:02 of the first.
The Panthers had a goal disallowed on video review at 6:58 in the first when it was ruled that the puck and the goalie were both pushed into the net.
NOTES: Thomas made his 11,000th NHL save during the first period. … Panthers RW Tomas Kopecky returned from injured reserve after missing five games with an upper-body injury. … D Dmitry Kulikov was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch last Tuesday against Ottawa. … Jets LW Evander Kane missed his second game with a lower-body injury. … RW Michael Frolik was a late scratch by the Jets with flu-like symptoms.