WINNIPEG - It was a few days early but the Winnipeg Jets gave cheering fans a long-awaited present Friday night as they capped the resurgent Florida Panthers winning streak at five with a 5-2 home-ice win.
Jacob Trouba, Toby Enstrom, Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane and Michael Frolik scored for the Jets (16-16-5), who hadn't won a home game since Nov. 15.
Shawn Matthias and Nick Bjugstad scored for the tired-looking Panthers (14-18-5). Both goals were unassisted, and thanks to giveaways by the Jets deep in their own zone.
With Florida playing their second game in two nights after beating Ottawa 4-2, Winnipeg came out fast and dominated the opening minutes against their former Southeast rivals.
But it was the Panthers who scored first, as Dustin Byfuglien's attempt to raise a clearing pass bounced off Matthias and he snapped one in at 7:45.
The Jets had plenty of chances in the penalty-filled first. But the teams were even when Trouba tied it with his soft tip at 11:06. It looked like Florida goalie Jacob Markstrom kicked it into his net with his skate as he scrambled to block it.
The Jets made it 2-1 on a five-on-three as Enstrom fired one from the slot at 15:24 and Wheeler finished off the five-on-four as he deflected Zach Bogosian's shot past Markstrom just 33 seconds later.
It was Bogosian's first game since that last home-ice win Nov. 15. He was out with what is thought to have been a groin injury.
Kane flipped in Frolik's pass to make it 4-1 just 1:03 into the second as the pair grabbed just enough space for a two-on-one.
But Bjugstad narrowed the gap with Florida's second goal at 5:55 of the second with his wrist shot when he intercepted Kane's cross-ice pass in front of the Winnipeg net.
Frolik restored the three-goal lead at 17:53 when he snapped in Andrew Ladd's rebound.
Notes: The piper who opened the game got a round of applause for "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" for the Jets' last game before the holiday. Jets' Mark Scheifele extended his point streak to five games, the longest active streak among NHL rookies. With another two assists, Scheifele also has collected 12 points over the last 12 games, dating back to Nov. 23???
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