Jets-Panthers Preview

The Winnipeg Jets have picked up six points through the first

four stops of a season-high six-game road trip.

They would appear to have another favorable matchup against

their former Southeast Division rivals.

The Jets look to stay hot as they visit the woeful Florida

Panthers, who try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss Thursday

night.

Winnipeg (13-12-4) has won three of four on its trek after

beating the New York Rangers 5-2 on Monday. Olli Jokinen led the

way with two goals and an assist while Devin Setoguchi added one of

each.

John Albert also scored in his NHL debut and Chris Thorburn and

Jacob Trouba had two assists apiece.

“This was a really great win,” Jokinen said. “We played another

solid road game. I’m very glad to get the two goals and see Albert

get his first goal on his first shot. I was telling him about a guy

back home who scored on his first seven shots, so he’s got a ways

to go.”

After posting 12 goals in going 2-5-1 in their previous eight

road games, the Jets have scored 12 on this trip.

“We’ve played pretty good. I think our team has, especially

(Monday) night against the Rangers, managed the game a lot better,”

coach Claude Noel said. “Our players were confident, and I think

that we have been pretty much for this trip.

“We’ve been looking forward to this trip and we’ve played with

some decent enthusiasm.”

The Jets now face a familiar foe in the Panthers, against whom

they have gone 12-5-2 dating to February 2010. While Florida’s 19

points are the second-fewest in the NHL, Noel isn’t taking

Thursday’s showdown lightly.

“They can find a way to win games,” he said. “It’s a situation

where we don’t want to underestimate, we want to make sure that

we’re engaged and ready to play.”

The Panthers (7-16-5), averaging 2.1 goals, have been outscored

14-5 during a three-game losing streak. Jonathan Huberdeau and

Brian Campbell gave Florida an early 2-0 lead Tuesday against

Ottawa before Tim Thomas allowed four unanswered goals down the

stretch.

“It’s frustrating,” Campbell told the league’s official website.

“It’s been very frustrating. I feel like we’re close, but we still

make those major mistakes that cost us all the time, and they don’t

seem to be leaving our game. They seem the same amount every night

we play. It sums it up.”

Thomas, who made a season-high 41 saves, is 1-4-1 with a 3.34

goals-against average in the last six games. He went 6-0-1 with a

2.23 GAA in his last seven meetings versus the Winnipeg franchise

while with Boston.

Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who made 35 saves against the

Rangers, is 2-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA in his three starts of the road

trip. He has gone 5-4-1 away from home while compiling a 2.16 GAA,

nearly a full goal lower than his 3.06 mark in Winnipeg. He is

10-4-1 in 16 career matchups against the Panthers.

Bryan Little, leading the Jets with 26 points, has four goals

and four assists in his last eight against Florida.

Evander Kane has seven goals and four assists during a nine-game

stretch in the series, but he is expected to miss a second

consecutive contest with lower-body injury.