Winnipeg, MB – Evander Kane scored a pair of goals, while Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd added one goal and one assist apiece as the Winnipeg Jets cruised to a 7-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
Aaron Gagnon, Chris Thorburn and Grant Clitsome each added one goal and Bryan Little finished with two assists for the Jets, who pulled even with the New York Rangers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 44 points. The Rangers currently hold the tie breaker, having played in two fewer games this season.
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 25-of-27 shots in the win.
T.J. Brennan and Tomas Fleischmann both had one goal and one assist for the Panthers, who have dropped two of their last three contests.
Jacob Markstrom allowed six goals on 23 shots, while Scott Clemmensen surrendered one tally on 12 shots in the setback.
"There's lots of different things we can point at, but I think the whole game didn't go (well) for us," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said.
Gagnon scored 3:54 into the first period, but Brennan netted the equalizer nearly a minute later after deflecting Fleischmann's shot into the net.
Kane scored just 18 seconds later, but the Panthers knotted it up once again following Fleischmann's goal with 13:29 left.
Ladd's tip-in with 7:28 to play in the opening period gave the hosts a 3-2 edge.
"The first ten minutes, after the first five goals, it was just back and forth really. Luckily we were able to answer each and every time," Ladd said. "As a team it makes it easier to go forward. There's a part of the game you're going to go through where you have situations like that where maybe it's not ideal but we're still winning the game 3-2 and it settled the guys down and moved forward."
Clitsome's power play goal 10:05 into the middle session gave Winnipeg a 4-2 edge, and Byfuglien added his seventh goal of the season 28 seconds later.
Kane's second tally of the game came with 8:03 left in the second, and Thorburn's tally in the third period capped the scoring.
Winnipeg will host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday ... The Jets outshot the Panthers 35-27 ... Ladd has 16 goals and 22 assists this season ... Florida will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.