JETS (24-22-6) at PANTHERS (23-15-11)
TV: TSN-JETS; FS-F (HD)
Last 10: Winnipeg 4-5-1; Florida 3-3-4
Season Series: It's the fourth of six meetings between the Southeast Division rivals. The visiting team has won all three -- Winnipeg was a 4-3 shootout winner at the BankAtlantic Center on Halloween, while the Panthers have won 5-2 and 4-3 in a shootout in Winnipeg.
Big Story: The teams are seven places apart in the standings, but only three points apart in the tightly packed Southeast Division. The Jets will be going for a two-game sweep of their trip through Florida after winning 2-1 in overtime at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Jets: The road hasn't been kind to the Jets, at least not until this week. Winnipeg lost two games away from home before the break, but came back by beating the Flyers 2-1 in Philadelphia before going to Tampa Bay and leaving with another 2-1 victory when Kyle Wellwood scored in overtime.
"We had a lot of energy, and I think we were willing to play 65 minutes if we needed to, plus a shootout if it had to go that far," said forward Blake Wheeler, who scored in the second period and assisted on Wellwood's winner. "I think we're just dedicated right now."
Panthers: Florida is enjoying the rarified air of first place entering the weekend after beating Washington 4-2 at home on Wednesday to jump ahead of the Capitals and into the top spot in the Southeast. Mikael Samuelsson had a pair of goals, including one from the red line.
"It's good to start off on a good note after a little break here, coming back," Samuelsson said. "At the same time, we have to concentrate on the next game pretty much right away because it's so tight and we need the wins."
Who's Hot: Nik Antropov has three goals and four assists in the past seven games for Winnipeg. … Samuelsson has three goals in Florida's last two games.
Injury Report: Winnipeg got star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien back Thursday after he missed 16 games with a knee problem but is still without forwards Evander Kane (concussion) and Tim Stapleton (lower body). … Florida is missing goaltenders Jose Theodore and Jacob Markstrom with knee injuries. Scottie Upshall is out for at least a month with abdominal surgery. Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (knee) and Ed Jovanovski (hand) are recovering from surgery.
Stat Pack: Five of the last six games between teams have gone past regulation. The Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise has won three. … Florida's Kris Versteeg has five goals and seven points in the three meetings with the Jets this season.
Puck Drop: Coach Claude Noel had hoped to ease Byfuglien back into the lineup on Thursday, but wound up playing him for 25:36. Happily for the Jets, the big defenseman seemed to handle the big workload without any complaints from his knee.
"It went pretty smooth, and I feel great right now," said Byfuglien, who assisted on Wellwood's OT winner. "It feels good to get right back on the (score) sheet and try to do as much as I can."
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