Skip to main content

Jets rally, beat Panthers in shootout

by Alain Poupart
SUNRISE, Fla. Andrew Ladd playfully lamented after the game that he couldn't be awarded a Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, assist and fight -- because his goal happened in the shootout.

In reality, the Winnipeg captain had little to complain about Monday night after he helped the Jets rally for a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers.

"It's got to be in regulation," Ladd joked, "but I'll take it."

Ladd's goal was the first of two in the shootout for the Jets, with Kyle Wellwood clinching the victory by wrong-footing Jose Theodore after goalie Ondrej Pavelec stopped Florida's Kris Versteeg and Mike Santorelli.

As big as that goal was, Jets coach Claude Noel thought Ladd's engaging of Florida wing Jack Skille early in the third period was just as important. That was done in retaliation for a Skille check to the head of defenseman Tobias Enstrom late in the second period that knocked Enstrom out of the game. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien went after Skille immediately following the hit, but Skille didn't fight and Byfuglien took a double-minor roughing penalty.

"I think Andrew leads in a lot of different ways," said Noel, who indicated he would know more about Enstrom's condition on Tuesday morning. "He's fed up, he's had enough and I thought it was a good moment in the game. He's a valuable player for us, but that's what you get with your leaders. That's the way he leads our group and we responded from it, so I think it's all good. It's perfect."

Explained Ladd: "I think that's the type of hit we're trying to get rid of and he's going for the puck, he's exposed. You don't need to hit a guy there. We took care of it in our own way."

Ladd's shootout heroics wouldn't have been possible if not for Evander Kane's late equalizer. Kane wristed a chest-high deflection -- his second tally of the night -- past Theodore with 49.9 seconds left to force overtime.

With Pavelec pulled, Kane scored on a backhand rebound out of midair. One of the officials immediately waved off the goal for high-sticking, but was overruled after video review showed Kane's stick was equal to the crossbar when he struck the puck.

"There were three calls on the play," Kane said. "Disallowed, then they called it a goal on the ice, and then they went upstairs. I've never really seen that before, but it was nice to see them make the right call.

"I wasn't too nervous. I thought my stick was definitely below the crossbar. Like I said, they talked it over and made the right call."

The Panthers, however, had a different view of the play.

"When you get it waved off that emphatically, the referee is standing there and he waves it off three or four times, you're under the assumption it's going to be a no goal," said Panthers coach Kevin Dineen. "Then when you get a replay in the dressing room relayed to you that it is no goal, I thought we were in pretty good stead there. It's surprising, very surprising, that it would go from that to, all of a sudden, goal. When a guy's waving it off that much, it's a shame. I think some people will learn some lessons from that. I think there was a mistake made on the ice and unfortunately it cost us a point, a very expensive point."

Wellwood also scored in regulation for the Jets, who are 2-1 on their season-long seven-game road trip. Winnipeg beat Philadelphia 9-8 on Thursday night before losing 1-0 at Tampa Bay Saturday.

When it came time for the shootout, Wellwood said he felt confident before he beat Jose Theodore with a forehand-backhand-forehand that clinched the victory. He also said he doesn't always feel that way.

"Sometimes you feel great before you shoot and sometimes you don't feel like you've got your hands or you feel tired or there's some tape that's screwed up on your stick and it's hard to do something," Wellwood said. "Tonight I felt good, and I was happy before shooting. I was a little more confident tonight."

Before stopping both shots he faced in the shootout, Pavelec made 39 saves in regulation and overtime.

"A big character win," Ladd said. "We didn't let that last goal put us down. We came back and found a way to get another one and get a win."

Tomas Fleischmann had two goals and an assist for the Panthers (6-4-1), who despite the loss finished with their first winning October since the 2005-06 season.

But for the second time in three games, the Panthers gave up a critical goal in the final minute. Ottawa scored with 4 seconds left Thursday night to hand Florida a 4-3 loss.

"It's better to learn it early in the season than late, but points are crucial here," said Versteeg. "We're going to have to start winning games and be consistent throughout the whole game."

Jason Garrison scored for the third consecutive game, and Brian Campbell had two assists. Garrison has five goals on the season, equaling his total from 73 appearances in 2010-11.

Veteran Jose Theodore, who traditionally had success against the Winnipeg franchise, made 28 saves in the loss.

The teams will meet again next week in Winnipeg. Monday's game was the first of the season between the Jets against Panthers assistant coach Craig Ramsay, who was their head coach last season but was not retained after the team moved from Atlanta.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.