Jets defeat Panthers in OT

- February 6th, 2013

This game was 15.2 seconds from going into a shootout, but the Jets got the decisive goal from Bryan Little to earn a 3-2 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at MTS Centre.

Little took a smart pass from rookie D-man Zach Redmond and roofed his shot high over the glove of Scott Clemmensen for the game-winner, allowing the Jets to snap a three-game losing skid.

With the win, the Jets improve to 4-4-1.

The Panthers (3-5-1) earned a point, but were unable to hold leads of 1-0 and 2-1.

As pointed out by Jets head coach Claude Noel, it was bit of a tentative start for the home side, as they went nearly 14 minutes without recording a shot on goal in the first period and finished the opening 20 minutes with just three in total (though Little and Paul Postma each rattled shots off the iron).

The Jets were much better in the second period as the ice tilted somewhat and they held a 14-5 edge in shots, producing a pair of goals.

Blake Wheeler (on a slapper that changed direction off the stick of Panthers D-man Keaton Ellerby) and Mark Stuart (on a point shot that looked to be tipped in by Alex Burmistrov but may have gone in off a Panthers’ defender’s skate in front) evened things up.

The third period was played close to the vest, with both teams working hard defensively to ensure at least a point by getting to extra time.

Here are some things that stood out from the press box:

* The Jets were much more disciplined, limiting the Panthers to two power plays and one of them lasted only 62 seconds (after a Toby Enstrom hooking minor nullified an early PP). The penalty kill was a disaster during a three-game road losing streak but has climbed back over 60% efficiency, which is a positive step in the right direction.

* Prior to the game, Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec took full accountability for not playing well enough on the road trip and then went out and was steady. Although he gave up a big rebound on the goal by Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers C Drew Shore undressed Enstrom on the play and Pavelec had to make a sharp right pad save initially. I asked Pavelec if he was screened on the second goal, a long shot by Tomas Fleischmann and he confirmed that he didn’t see it, calling it a lucky shot. Pavelec finished with 17 saves and after getting pulled after giving up five goals on 14 shots and 10 goals in his previous two starts, that’s progress. The Jets limited the glorious chances against, but Pavelec stabilized things when he needed to.

* Enstrom extended his consecutive point streak to seven games with an assist on the goal by Wheeler and he made an excellent stretch pass to create the scoring chance. Enstrom led the Jets with 26 minutes and 28 seconds of ice time (only Panthers D Brian Campbell at 30 minutes and 10 seconds, had more).

* Thought Alex Burmistrov looked fine on a unit with Little and Andrew Ladd. Burmistrov recorded one shot on goal in just over 18 minutes of action. Had an assist on Stuart’s goal and did some nice work in front, even if he wasn’t credited with the goal.

* As for the other line change, Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood each had two shots on net, while Alexei Ponikarovsky had none. The former Toronto Maple Leafs trio wasn’t spectacular, but wasn’t bad either. It’s going to take a little more time to see if they can recreate some of their old magic together.

* Redmond continues to play steady minutes. In each of his three games, the rookie D (and second-year pro) has eclipsed 20 minutes, which is impressive considering he sat out the first six games as a healthy scratch and hadn’t played in nearly three weeks before making his NHL debut. Redmond picked up the first two assists of his career and said playing his first game at MTS Centre was quite memorable because of the fan support.

* The Jets held Kris Versteeg to one secondary assist, which is quite a feat, considering the Panthers forward had eight goals and 12 points in his previous five games against them.

* The Jets are taking Wednesday off and face the Maple Leafs on Thursday in what will be a special return for former Manitoba Moose head coach and general manager Randy Carlyle.

The Maple Leafs defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Tuesday to improve to 5-5 and they’re an impressive 4-1 on the road this season.

Categories: Hockey

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