Panthers hope to end road woes against Jets

Panthers hope to end road woes against Jets

Published Jan. 21, 2012 10:00 a.m. ET

Life on the road has been unkind to the Florida Panthers for more than a month.

Perhaps a stop in Winnipeg can help turn things around.

The Panthers look to avoid dropping a ninth straight road game for the second consecutive season Saturday night when they face the Jets, a team they have already beaten once away from home in 2011-12.

Florida (21-15-10) should have known it would be in for another long night Friday in Chicago, when a snowstorm forced the team's bus from their hotel to arrive 45 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the game. The start was delayed 30 minutes, but that did not help the Panthers, who recorded just 19 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The Panthers, who have dropped four in a row overall, are 0-4-4 away from home since winning 2-0 at Boston on Dec. 8. Florida lost its final nine road games last season.

It's scored two or fewer goals six times during its last eight road contests.

"We have to start playing as a team like we played the first 30-35 games of the season," said forward Tomas Kopecky, who has a goal and four assists in his last six games. "Right now we are maybe trying too much and squeezing the stick a little too much."

If there is reason for the Panthers to be optimistic despite their road struggles, it's that they won 5-2 in Winnipeg on Nov. 10.

Kris Versteeg recorded a hat trick and added an assist in that contest. However, he's posted just one assist in his last nine games.

Jason Garrison scored his 13th of the season on the power play early in the third period at Chicago. He has two goals in his last three games, and will be looking for one in his third straight contest against the Jets.

Winnipeg (22-20-5) looks to build on a 4-1 home win over Buffalo on Thursday. Andrew Ladd had a goal with an assist while Kyle Wellwood added two assists as the Jets won for just the third time in nine games.

"It was a big win," Ladd told the team's official website. "I think everyone knows they're all big right now."

The Jets hope to continue producing after they scored more than three goals for the first time in 11 contests. Winnipeg went 2 for 4 on the power play after failing to score with the man advantage on 12 chances over the previous five games.

"We've been struggling a bit on the PP," said defenseman Tobias Enstrom, who has goals in three straight games after scoring once in his first 24. "We've been trying to get some pucks at the net and scored some goals and it worked."

Winnipeg was 2 for 5 on the power play while splitting its previous two meetings with Florida this season.

Ladd has three goals and two assists in his last three games against the Panthers.