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Jets Game More For Howden

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
Forward Quinton Howden fights off Sens defenseman Sergei Gonchar to draw a penalty which resulted in the game-winning goal in the third period in Sunday's 2-1 victory.

Thursday's game in Winnipeg will be something to remember for rookie Quinton Howden.

While for the other Panthers players, the game against the Jets might be just another game on the schedule, for the Winnipeg native Howden it will be of special significance, as he'll have a chance to play in his hometown for the first time in his professional career.

"It's pretty special," said a smiling Howden when asked about the chance to play in front of the "home" crowd. "When I got drafted, obviously the Jets weren't there yet so I never kind of dreamt of that moment.

"But ever since they were there, I've always been thinking about that day that I can put on this (Panthers) jersey and go back home and play in front of my family and friends."

One of three Panthers first round picks in the 2010 NHL Draft (25th overall), Howden said that he'll certainly have a lot of family and friends to support him. What colors they show up in is still a mystery however.

"I don't even know what jersey they're going to be wearing," said Howden. "Hopefully they're wearing our colors but we'll see."

Just talking about the upcoming experience and playing in front of the raucous Jets fans has Howden excited.

"I really haven't been to any," said Howden of attending a Jets game last season, their first season back in the NHL after moving from Atlanta. "I've been around there and I've heard the stories so I'm really looking forward to it."

Still searching for his first NHL goal despite coming close on several different occasions in his first 10 games as a Panther, Howden couldn't think of any better scenario than to doing it in Winnipeg in front of his friends and family.

"That (would) put the cherry on top. It would be a dream come true so I'm working for it," said Howden. "When it happens it happens. I've had some chances but it would be pretty awesome to get that but I'm not going to put any pressure on myself."

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