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Panthers provide first stop on Jets' road trip

by Eric Goodman

JETS (10-10-1) at PANTHERS (6-11-5)


Last 10: Winnipeg 5-5-0; Florida 2-5-3

Season series: This is the third of five meetings between these clubs. Each has a win on home ice, although the Panthers hold a one-point advantage with an overtime loss at Winnipeg on Feb. 5.

Big story: Winnipeg begins its four-game road trip in Sunrise, where it will try to establish a three-game road win streak. The Panthers announced Tuesday that center Stephen Weiss requires wrist surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.

Team Scope:

Jets: Winnipeg got itself back into the thick of the playoff race with three straight wins last week, including two victories over the New Jersey Devils and one against the New York Rangers. But that streak was halted Saturday with a 3-0 loss at home against the Southeast's Washington Capitals, which put both teams in a tie for fourth in the division in points.

The Jets outshot the Capitals, 31-8, over the first two periods but couldn't discover the right formula to get any pucks past opposing goalie Braden Holtby. The power play didn't prove to be an advantage for Winnipeg either as it couldn't capitalize on three opportunities Saturday. The Jets are toward the bottom of the NHL with a 14.3-percent success rate with the man advantage.

"We probably could have used one on the power play," coach Claude Noel said. "The power play will probably be a topic because [the media] can't think past the stats. I thought that our power play was better than it has been."

Panthers: Florida hasn't won in three straight games, although it did manage a point in a shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres last week. But if the Panthers are to start digging themselves out of the East basement, they'll need to improve upon a League-worst 3 goals-per-game average.

Scoring two Sunday against the visiting Hurricanes didn't do the trick, considering that Carolina had already established a 3-0 lead that it carried late into the second period. Despite the loss, rookie Jonathan Huberdeau found his way back onto the score sheet with two goals. The 19-year-old center last had registered a point on Feb. 21, when he tallied twice and added two helpers at the Philadelphia Flyers.

"We played a good first 18 minutes and I don't think we finished it off," coach Kevin Dineen told said. "Obviously, it's not enough right now and I don't think it's a boost of confidence that nothing but a good solid win is going to provide. We're obviously still in search of that."

Who's hot: For the Jets, Andrew Ladd has four points (3g, 1a) in his last four games. … Defenseman Brian Campbell has six points (2g, 4a) in his last four games for the Panthers.

Injury report: Winnipeg will be without defensemen Tobias Enstrom (shoulder) and Zach Redmond (leg). … Weiss' injury is the latest in a long list of unavailable players for Florida. Goalie Jose Theodore (lower body) and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (upper body) are on injured reserve. Forward Scottie Upshall sustained a lower-body injury Saturday on the road against the Hurricanes and did not play in the home game Sunday against Carolina. Florida is also without forward Kris Versteeg (chest) and defensemen Michael Caruso (wrist), Mike Weaver (lower body) and Ed Jovanovski (lower body).

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