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After big win at Toronto, Panthers head to Winnipeg

by Sergei J. Feldman
PANTHERS (7-4-3) at JETS (5-7-3)


Last 10: Florida 4-3-3; Winnipeg 4-4-2.

Season Series: This will be the second of six meetings between the two Southeast Division opponents. Winnipeg prevailed, 4-3, in a shootout on Halloween night. Evander Kane led the way for the Jets with a pair of goals, while the Panthers' Tomas Fleischmann had a two-goal game of his own and added a helper in a losing effort.

Big Story: The Panthers have earned at least one point in five consecutive games, while the Jets are in the midst of a three-game winless skid after just concluding a seven-game road swing. The two teams will collide with hopes of either continuing to build momentum in the second month of the season or ending a tough streak and getting back to their game.

Team Scope:

Panthers: After three games away from the Sunshine State, in which three of six points were collected, the Cats are now coming off a convincing, 5-1, win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the hottest teams in the League so far. As has been the case for much of the season, the Panthers have relied on a balanced en route to victory. Against the Maple Leafs, five different players scored goals and the depth of the newly assembled Panthers has shown its face. Goalie Jose Theodore, who stopped 38 of 39 shots, pointed to the team's resolve as the reason for the recent win.

"We played a good game," he said. "The Leafs came out hard in the first period, but we didn't get intimidated. We showed them that we were prepared to play. We got the momentum and didn't let go."

Jets: Meanwhile, the Jets will just be happy to be at home, after being away from Canada since Oct. 24. Despite the long road trip, the Jets have hung in there and earned a total of eight points and look to get back on track after a brief three-game winless skid when Florida comes to town. Most recently, the Jets are coming off a wild, 6-5, overtime defeat to the Buffalo Sabres. The Jets led four times against the Sabres, but couldn't come away with the victory. Discipline was among the culprits against the Sabres, according to coach Claude Noel.

"We need to keep the game 5-on-5," he said after the game. "You can't give the other team 12 penalties and expect to get two points. We would have liked to get two points here and it was within our grasp. I think we shot ourselves in the foot because were in the box most of the time."

Who's Hot: Jets' leading scorer Nik Antropov brings his five points in as many games to the ice against Florida, who have been led by Fleischmann and his six points in five games.

Injury Report: Mikael Samuelsson is week-to-week with a groin injury for the Panthers, while the Jets will be without the services of Eric Fehr (shoulder), defensemen Ron Hainsey (upper body), Derek Meech (lower body), Tobias Enstrom (clavicle) and Randy Jones (foot). All are day-to-day except for Enstrom, who should be out until mid-December. Jets goalie Chris Mason is also day-to-day with a groin injury.

Stat Pack: Last year, Florida’s power play unit finished at the bottom of League standings with a 13.1 percent conversation rate. So far, the Panthers are ranked fifth with a 23.1 percent conversion rate.

Puck Drop: When Florida comes to town, the Jets hope to play a more sound defensive game in order to come away with a win.

"It's fun when you score," defenseman Zach Bogosian said. "It's not fun when you get scored on. Run-and-gun type of hockey is not the way we want to play."

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