Florida will be hosting the Winnipeg Jets tonight at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise. This is the fourth meeting this season of six between the divisional rivals, and the second of three played in Florida. The Panthers are 12-5-7 at home, while Winnipeg owns a 8-14-4 road record. For Florida, this is the final game of a three game homestand. Prior to the All-Star Game, they dropped a 3-2 overtime matchup to the Philadelphia Flyers. They then beat the Washington Capitals, 4-2 on Wednesday and go on the road for a short divisional roadtrip against the Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Jets are playing the fifth game of a six game roadtrip. They lost to the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1 and the New York Rangers, 3-0 before the All-Star break. They then beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday and the Tampa Bay Lightning, also 2-1, in overtime last night.
The teams last met on January 21st in Manitoba, with Florida skating off with a 4-3 shootout victory. Kris Versteeg continued his mastery of the Jets, by scoring two in regulation and later assisting on Mike Santorelli's goal. In three games against the Jets this season Versteeg has five goals, two assists, and a plus-seven rating. Versteeg and Santorelli also both later scored in the shootout, with Mikael Samuelsson eventually sinking the game winner in the seventh round. Scott Clemmensen got the victory by saving 41 of 44 Jets shots. Winnipeg was led by two goals from Nik Antropov and one from Alexander Burmistrov. Ondrej Pavelic allowed three goals on 23 shots in taking the loss. Said Clemmensen after claiming the victory,
"We just needed a win. It didn't matter what the shot count was or what happened out there. We just needed a win. Regardless of how we got it, or when or against whom, the circumstances of a third game in four nights, we just needed a win. It was a gutsy win for us."
Capitals @ Panthers 02/01/12 (via NHLVideo)
The Jets topped the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, 2-1 in overtime. Blake Wheeler scored his 10th goal of the season to put the Jets up, 1-0 near the end of the second. Kyle Wellwood added his 10th of the season in overtime. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 28 of 29 shots for a well earned victory. The Lightning were paced by Victor Hedman, who scored his third goal of the season. Mathieu Garon helped the Bolts earn a point, by stopping 21 of 22 shots in regulation. After the game, Wellwood talked about his goal, as reported by NHL.COM,
"(Dustin) Byfuglien made a nice play getting the puck to Wheeler and (Vincent) Lecavalier went for the puck and missed," Wellwood said. "Me and Wheels (Blake Wheeler) had a lot of time and he made a great pass."
Winnipeg Jets @ Tampa Bay Lightning Highlights 2/2/12 (via WinnipegJets11)
Season Series: 2-0-1
All-Time Series: 28-29-14
Game Time: 7:30 EST
Florida Panthers: 23-15-11, 57 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 15th NHL, on pace for 95 points.
Winnipeg Jets: 24-22-6, 54 points, third Southeast Division, 10th Eastern Conference, 19th NHL, on pace for 85 points.