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Scheifele, Laine combine for six points in Jets win over Panthers

Brossoit finishes with 33 saves; Jets earn sixth road win of the season

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

SUNRISE, FLORIDA - Patrik Laine felt his line with Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor were close to breaking out after they combined for 14 shots on goal two nights ago.

Well, it happened against the Florida Panthers - and it helped the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory.

The trio combined for seven points in the win, with Scheifele and Laine earning three points each.

"We've been together for only three games and we're still searching and trying to build some chemistry," said Laine, who holds the team lead in assists this season with 14. "The last couple games we've been on our game, creating a lot of chances. Last game we couldn't score, but this game we scored three. A couple unfortunate bounces in our own end, we have to clean that up. 

"I think we're on a good path."

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

Scheifele, who leads the Jets in points with 20 through 20 games, scored his eighth of the season in the win. Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey, and Adam Lowry added singles of their own to help the Jets move to 11-8-1 on the season.

Head coach Paul Maurice said the line of Scheifele, Laine, and Connor continues to grow together as they combined for eight shots on goal.

"They look like they're starting to get in a rhythm. I give that line maybe a little bit more room for some passes," said Maurice. "Patty tried to hit Mark back door. Everyone is used to seeing Patty shoot all these pucks, that was the right play. They're just starting to get in sync and figure out which ones they should shoot and which ones they should pass."

After a scoreless first period, the Jets offence lit the lamp 3:45 into the second. Posted up on the right-wing boards, Scheifele spotted a pinching Morrissey coming in from the left point. He sent a seam pass that hit Morrissey right on the tape and the defenceman wired home his second of the season.

Laine also picked up his 200th career point with an assist on the goal.

"He goes to the right spots. When you have a dangerous shot like that and he's looking for a pass, I think it shows his game is growing," Scheifele said of his line mate. "He's looking for it, but he's always in the right spots. That was my biggest take out of his game tonight. He was always in the right spot and it led to offence."

Video: POSTGAME | Patrik Laine

Laine's countryman, Alexander Barkov, pulled Florida even on the power play with 4:52 remaining in the middle frame. The Panthers' captain shovelled home a loose puck in a crowd in front of Laurent Brossoit for his sixth of the season.

"We know they have offence. We know they play a solid game and they're going to make you pay if you give them a chance," said Scheifele. "It was good resilience on our part, good character on our part to come back and fight for that lead."

Scheifele and Laine were back at it again in the third period. Scheifele forced a turnover below the goal line in the Panthers' zone and got the puck to Laine, who quickly slid a backhand pass to Ehlers in the left circle. Ehlers made no mistake from there, beating Bobrovsky for his eighth goal of the campaign and a 2-1 Jets lead.

That lead lasted just 2:45, as Vincent Trocheck flipped home a backhand from just outside the crease. The rebound was the result of a shot from the high slot off the stick of Brian Boyle.

Video: POSTGAME | Mark Scheifele

But Scheifele and Laine weren't done yet.

Laine found the Jets centre at the side of the net with a backhand pass to the back door. Scheifele's eighth of the season put the Jets up 3-2 with 5:08 left in regulation.

"I told him I didn't even see him, I was just hoping he was there so I didn't look like an idiot that passed to nobody," Laine said with a sarcastic grin. 

"I saw him. I took a quick look before I got the puck and he was there with his stick ready. So I just tried to get it to him and he had an open net."

Lowry tipped a Tucker Poolman shot to put the Jets up 4-2 briefly, but with the goalie pulled, the Panthers got back within one on Trocheck's second of the night, a deflection in front of Brossoit with 1:34 left in regulation.

But that's as close as the Panthers would get, as they couldn't complete their second comeback in as many games.

One quarter of the way through the season, Maurice likes what he's seen from his group.

"It's a scrappy group. They like each other, the bench is good, real positive," said Maurice. "They're trying to hang with the D, we have young guys on the wings and an inexperienced group back there. But they'll battle and battle on pucks."

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