Sunrise, FL – Jacob Markstrom made 20 saves to notch his first win of the season, as the Florida Panthers defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 4-1, on Tuesday.
Tomas Kopecky, Shawn Matthias, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Santorelli each scored once to help the Panthers snap a three-game skid.
Kyle Wellwood registered the lone Winnipeg goal and Ondrej Pavelec allowed all four goals on 20 shots for the Jets, who have lost two straight.
"I thought we came out a little sluggish," Wellwood admitted. "We didn't find a way to get the puck into the areas to get on the forecheck and get some hits."
Florida struck first just over five minutes in when Tomas Fleischmann slid a pass from the left circle to Marcel Goc in the slot. Goc then one-touched the puck to the right circle for Kopecky, who rifled a one-timer past Pavelec at the 5:07 mark.
Winnipeg found the equalizer on its first shot of the second stanza, as Wellwood took a nice feed in the slot and got a defender to bite on a shot fake before ripping a blast from the low right side past Markstrom to make it 1-1 just 1:42 into the middle stanza.
Matthias gave the Panthers the lead for good with a spectacular individual effort near the midpoint of the second, as he danced past a defender near the Winnipeg blue line before firing a shot from the left circle that sailed high over the glove of Pavelec for a 2-1 lead at the 9:55 mark.
"I've seen that play out of Shawn and I know he has that in his bag of tricks," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said of Matthias' highlight-reel tally. "It was a beautiful goal."
Huberdeau was awarded a penalty shot just under five minutes later when he was taken down by Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien on a breakaway and the sensational rookie capitalized on the opportunity by ripping a wrister over the glove of Pavelec for a 3-1 lead at the 14:50 mark.
Santorelli's backhand tally at the 3:43 mark of the third pushed the lead to 4-1 and Markstrom kept the margin there by stopping all eight shots he faced in the final frame to send the Panthers to victory.
"That was good for him to get the win," Dineen said of Markstrom. "He was the difference maker."
Florida has taken two of three from Winnipeg this season, including a 6-3 decision in Florida on Jan. 31. The Panthers and Jets will face off again Friday in Florida ... The Panthers announced Tuesday that center Stephen Weiss will miss the remainder of the season because of wrist surgery ... Florida went 0-for-2 on the power play and did not commit a penalty ... Florida defenseman Colby Robak registered an assist to notch his first NHL point.