Panthers-Jets Preview

The Florida Panthers ended a streak of three consecutive

shootout losses with their most recent victory, giving them their

best start in 15 seasons.

Now, they’ll look to get a bit of revenge against the team that

started that previous slide.

Florida concludes its two-game swing through Canada on Thursday

night when it faces the Winnipeg Jets, who will try to end a

three-game losing streak as they play their first home game in 17

days.

The Panthers (7-4-3) haven’t started a season this well since

going 8-0 with four ties to open 1996-97. Five different players

scored in a 5-1 victory over Toronto on Tuesday, ending a

frustrating stretch of shootout losses.

Jose Theodore made 38 saves to improve to 2-0-2 with a 2.16

goals-against average in his last four starts.

“I just saw the puck really good, so right after the first save

I knew I was going to see the puck well,” Theodore said. “I played

with a lot of confidence and from there the guys just took

over.”

Theodore made 28 saves Oct. 31 as the Panthers fell 4-3 to the

Jets in a shootout – a rare loss versus the former Thrashers. The

veteran is 5-1-1 in nine starts since the lockout against the

one-time Atlanta franchise, though he’s been pulled twice and

posted a 3.58 GAA in that span.

Florida has earned at least one point in seven of its last eight

games (4-1-3), though it misses out on picking up two in that loss

to Winnipeg when Evander Kane tied the score at 3 with 50 seconds

left.

The Jets (5-7-3) wound up 3-2-2 on their season-long road trip,

but finished 0-1-2 after blowing a two-goal, first-period lead in a

6-5 overtime loss to Buffalo on Tuesday.

Winnipeg allowed Buffalo 12 power-play chances, of which the

Sabres converted four.

“We need to keep the game 5-on-5,” coach Claude Noel said. “We

would’ve liked to get two points, and it was in our grasp. I think

we shot ourselves in the foot because we were in the box most of

the time.”

Bryan Little scored twice while Dustin Byfuglien and Tanner

Glass added a goal and an assist each. Captain Andrew Ladd, who had

an assist and a shootout goal in the last meeting with the

Panthers, also had an assist.

Defenseman Zach Bogosian doesn’t feel the Jets are built for

up-tempo, high-scoring games – even after opening the trip with a

9-8 win at Philadelphia.

“It’s fun when you score, it’s not fun when you get scored on,”

Bogosian said. “Run-and-gun type of hockey is not the way we want

to play.”

Winnipeg hopes to get back on track against a Florida team it’s

had its way with in recent seasons. The Jets franchise is 7-1-1 in

the last nine meetings, with Ladd tallying two goals and two

assists in the last two matchups.

Winnipeg, though, has had to overcome some shaky goaltending

lately. Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason have a combined .892 save

percentage and 3.33 GAA.

Should Pavelec get the call Thursday, however, he might have a

good chance to get back on track after allowing six goals on 45

shots Tuesday.

He’s 5-1-0 with a 2.17 GAA in seven career starts against the

Panthers.