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game recap

Top line powers Jets to win against Panthers

Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele score for Winnipeg in fourth straight road victory

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Patrik Laine scored his 21st goal of the season and had an assist when the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1 at BB&T Center on Wednesday.

Laine came into the game tied with Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the rookie scoring lead with 20 goals and 14 assists each.

"It's always nice to score," Laine said. "I've been able to help my team win with those goals, like today. I'm just happy that I scored."


WATCH: All Jets vs. Panthers highlights


Shawn Matthias, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets (19-19-3), who defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-4 on Tuesday. Bryan Little had two assists.

Laine also had a goal in the victory against Tampa Bay.

"We're not shocked by it anymore," Little said. "He's just got that shot that it's unbelievable. Some nights he doesn't have that many chances, but he's a guy that only needs one clear shot and he's putting it in the back of the net. He's going to score a lot of goals in his career, that's for sure."

Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for his second consecutive victory since being pulled after allowing four goals on 15 shots in a 6-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Video: WPG@FLA: Hellebuyck comes up big, thwarts McKegg

"Awesome," Little said of Hellebuyck's play. "Everyone has off games. Our whole team had an off game that night. He's had our backs these last two games. He kept us in it last night in Tampa, gave us a chance to win, and tonight he did the same thing. Every time we had letdowns or they had chances, he shut the door for us and came up big. He looked great."

Greg McKegg scored for the Panthers (16-15-8), who have lost five of their past six (1-2-3). Jaromir Jagr got his 1,136th NHL assist to pass Paul Coffey for fifth place on the all-time list.

Roberto Luongo made 35 saves but failed in his third attempt to pass Terry Sawchuk for fifth place on the all-time wins list. Luongo and Sawchuk each have 447 NHL victories.

"He'll get it," Hellebuyck said. "He's a good goalie. I grew up watching him and I was always a big fan of him. Just being able to play him a couple of times and see what he's like, I kind of cherish that moment."

Video: WPG@FLA: Luongo holds off Laine on Jets' power play


Goal of the game

Laine gave Winnipeg a 2-0 lead at 7:24 of the second period after Little stole the puck from defenseman Michael Matheson in front of the Florida net. Little slid the puck over to Laine at the bottom of the left circle and he one-timed it past Luongo on the blocker side.

"I was [tempted to shoot] until I knew who I was on the ice with," Little said. "I was in a pretty good shooting position, too, but I figured if I got it to him, it was pretty much guaranteed. So that's what I did."

Video: WPG@FLA: Laine snipes goal after steal by Little


Save of the game

Off a faceoff in the Winnipeg zone, Florida put together a nice three-way passing play between Matheson, Jussi Jokinen and Aaron Ekblad, but Hellebuyck made a pad save on Ekblad's one-timer.

Video: WPG@FLA: Hellebuyck makes nice save to deny Ekblad


Highlight of the game

Ekblad blocked defenseman Ben Chiarot's dump-in attempt at the Florida blue line. Jagr made slight contact with the puck before McKegg took it in the neutral zone. McKegg skated in on the right wing and beat Hellebuyck with a wrist shot that bounced in off the far post to give Jagr his historic assist.

Video: WPG@FLA: McKegg scores, Jagr makes history


Unsung performances of the game

Coach Paul Maurice called defenseman Jacob Trouba one of the Jets' best players Wednesday. Trouba had an assist, and led Winnipeg with six shots on goal and three blocks in 25:14 of ice time.


They said it

"We just played a pretty solid 60 minutes. A couple of stupid penalties, but I think that was it. We defended pretty well and we managed to do those things that we wanted to do before the game. It was just a good game for us." -- Jets forward Patrik Laine


"It was satisfying as you can imagine, especially being in the warm weather and having a day off tomorrow. I think that we're going to enjoy the weather." -- Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck on back-to-back road wins against the Lightning and Panthers


"He played tonight like he wants to stay here. I'm glad for him; he's worked hard to get another chance and he scored a great goal, so he'll definitely be in the lineup the next game, that's for sure." -- Panthers coach Tom Rowe on Greg McKegg, who was recently recalled from the American Hockey League


Need to know

Panthers forward Seth Griffith left the game in the first period with a concussion and did not return. He was concussed when he collided with Ehlers in the neutral zone. … Winnipeg has won four consecutive road games for the first time this season.


What's next

Jets: At the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; MSG-B, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Panthers: Host the Nashville Predators on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, FS-F, FS-TN, NHL.TV)


Video: Laine, Hellebuyck lead Jets to 4-1 win

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