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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Jets 3 (SO)

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT So T
Panthers 2 0 1 0 3-7 4
Jets 0 1 2 0 2-7 3
FLA - K. Versteeg (18), M. Santorelli (6), K. Versteeg (19), SO - M. Samuelsson

WPG - PPG - N. Antropov (7), N. Antropov (8), A. Burmistrov (9)
WINNIPEG (AP) - Kris Versteeg scored two goals and added an assist for the Florida Panthers, who snapped an eight-game, road-losing streak with a 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.

Mikael Samuelsson scored the Panthers' winning goal of the shootout, which used 14 skaters. Mike Santorelli also scored in regulation for Florida (22-15-10), which also ended a four-game skid.

"We just needed a win. It didn't matter what the shot count was or what happened out there. We just needed a win. Regardless of how we got it, or when or against whom, the circumstances of a third game in four nights, we just needed a win. It was a gutsy win for us."

- Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen
1. A Flipped First: After playing well but finding themselves on the wrong end of a 2-0 after 20 minutes Friday night against the Blackhawks, the Panthers flipped the switch less than 24 hours later as it was they who held a two-goal lead after the first period against the Jets. Florida, despite being outshot 15-10 by Winnipeg, held the momentum, in large part thanks to Kris Versteeg. The Panthers winger was set up for the games' first goal caused by a turnover by Marcel Goc. Versteeg held onto the puck while working across the crease and fired a backhand over Ondrej Pavelec 5:40 into the first. Then with time running out, Mike Santorelli caused a turnover behind the Jets net and found Versteeg from in close. The winger worked across crease once again and slid the puck back to Krys Barch. The crashing winger fired a shot on goal. Santorelli, who started the play, stood in the blue paint and the shot redirected in off of the center for his sixth of the season with about 16 seconds left on the clock.

2. Jets Pressurized Hockey: Down by two after one, the Jets came at the Panthers with even more pressure. Winnipeg swarmed the Florida zone for what seemed like the entire second period. They were rewarded on one of their 15 shots as Kyle Wellwood put pressure on Dmitry Kulikov behind the net. The Jets forward picked off Kulikov's pass and found Nik Antropov from in close 5:06 into the second for a power play goal, cutting the Panthers lead to one. A little over a period later (5:54 into the third), they were knotted the game at two as Antropov netted his second of the night from the left slot. Versteeg, who was along with Clemmensen was Florida's best player all night recaptured the lead for the Panthers as he answered Antropov's tally 57 seconds later as his hard shot on the turnover was hard enough to just get past Pavelec's glove hand. Trailing once again, Winnipeg put continued their pressure and knotted the game once again as Alex Burmistrov scored with 6:15 left to play. The Jets finished the game, outshooting the Panthers 44-23.

3. Ending A Streak With A Shootout Win: Outplayed most of the night, the Panthers still lost leads on two seperate occasions. While you want to close out a team when you have a chance, and giving Winnipeg a point in the standings, Florida ultimately came out on top for an important two points. In overtime, the teams traded chances but the game ultimately went to the shootout. It was Wellwood who would find the back of the net first in the Jets second attempt. Versteeg however answered with a tally of his own. After missing on each of their next shots, the shootout went to sudden death. Blake Wheeler, up for the Jets, gave the home crowd a temporary chear as he beat a downed Clemmensen. Needing a goal or the game was over, Santorelli came through as he scored five-hole on Pavelec. After another round of saves, Burmistrov missed the open net. Looking for the victory for their fourth time in the shootout, Mikael Samuelsson obliged as he put a shot over Pavelec's shoulder, giving the Panthers a 4-3 victory. For Florida, it was just their third shootout victory of the season (3-5). The victory was huge in several ways. It vaulted Florida back to the top of the Southeast with 54 points and it also helped end an eight-game road losing streak. For a team that had gone 7-3 and 10-6 in their first 10 and 16 games of the season on the road, the victory will hopefully bring back pleasant memories of success on the road.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@RyanMaloy13: @flapanthers #Flapanthers. Good game tonight by the cats. Steeger with another big performance in winnipeg. #Gocats #Buzzin

@darketernaldays: #FlaPanthers winnn!!!! Omg @FlaPanthers thanks for giving me a freakin heart attack! can't wait til the game on Tuesday, c'mon home boys! :)

@Haydn760: What a game HUGE win #weseered #flapanthers #verbeauty

@altereg0: what a win! great goal to win it in the SO Sammy! #FlaPanthers #WeSeeRats

@brianfein: Huge win by the @FlaPanthers and in a 7-round shootout! Big game by Clemmensen! Now to parlay this into a renewed hot streak... #WeSeeRed

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Christina Colon: YES! The Panthers are back!!!!! Congrats Versteeg, Santorelli and Samuelsson. They should count Versteeg's goal as a hat trick. :)

Dave G.: All that matters is we got the 2 points, no matter who outplayed who. Games aren't won or lost on overall effort or who the healthier team is, they are won by scoring more goals than the other team. That's it.

Nagy Gabriel: Thank you Steeger,Santorelli,Sammy and Clemmer!Finally a SO WIN!:D

Adam Cohen: I was on the edge of my seat during that shootout, didn't think it would ever end! How do you like dem apples.

Joe Fiore: I don't think any of you can deny that Clemmensen was a wall tonight.

5. If only the Panthers could play the Jets in all 82 games. At least Kris Versteeg probably wished that. Shut out in his first game against Winnipeg, Versteeg notched the first NHL hat trick of his career in a four-point night on November 11. He followed that up with two more goals and an assist, giving him 7 points (5-2-7) in three games against the Southeast Division foes.

8. After alternating overtime/shootout and regulation losses in their last eight road games, the Panthers finally found victory away from the BankAtlantic Center with the 4-3 shootout victory.

Firing a backhand past Ondrej Pavelec 5:40 into the first, Versteeg netted his 18th of the season. More importantly, it ended a nine-game goalless streak for the Panthers leading scorer.

21/44. Winnipeg put a lot of pressure on Florida, finishing with 44 shots on the night. It tied for the most shots allowed by the Panthers this season. Florida also allowed 44 shots against Colorado on January 18th. Registering 23 shots in return, Florida was outshot by 21. It was the largest shot differential to date this season, one more than the 20 shot differential the New York Rangers had on Florida on January 5th (41-21).

The Jets were able to control most of the game thanks in large part to their dominance in the face-off circle. There they won 60% (41 of 68) of the draws. Jim Slater won 71% (12 of 17) while Bryan Little won 66% (19 of 29). For the Panthers, only Mike Santorelli was better than average (more than two draws taken) as he wwon 63% of his draws (5 of 8).

Kris Versteeg
Had a hand in all three Panthers goals in regulation as he ended a nine-goal goalless streak and answered Winnipeg's goal in the second round of the shootout to eventually send it into sudden death where the Panthers won.

2 Goals, 1 Assist, 4 Shots, +3
Florida returns home for one more game before getting over a week off for the All-Star break. The Panthers will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday as the two teams will meet for the second time this season. The Flyers held on for a 3-2 victory in Sunrise back on November 13th as Matt Read scored the game-winner on a penalty shot 4:13 into the third period. Philadelphia, who will play Boston on Sunday, earned a 4-1 victory over New Jersey Saturday night thanks to two goals from Scottie Hartnell. The win came at a price as Danny Briere (30 points in 43 games) suffered a concussion after a hard hit by Anton Volchenkov. The Flyers are led offensively by Claude Giroux who's 52 points are tied for second most in the league. Hartnell has been almost a point-per-game player as well, chipping in with 41 points in 46 games. Ilya Bryzgalov (18-10-3, 2.94 GAA) and Sergei Bobrovsky (10-4-1, 2.46 GAA) have split the goaltending duties for Philadelphia.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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