A pair of Southeast Division inhabitants clash Thursday evening north of the border, as the Winnipeg Jets host the Florida Panthers at MTS Centre.
The Panthers lost the first meeting with the Jets, 4-3, in a shootout back on Oct. 31 at home and have dropped two straight and 10 of the past 15 matchups with the Winnipeg franchise. Tonight's game will be the second of six meetings between the division foes.
Florida ended a three-game slide its last time out with a 5-1 pounding of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday. Jack Skille and Shawn Matthias both had a goal and an assist, while Marco Sturm, Tomas Kopecky and Sean Bergenheim also scored for the Panthers, who have won two straight road games and got a season-high 38 saves from Jose Theodore.
"We played a good game," Theodore told the club's site. "The Leafs came out hard in the first period, but we didn't get intimidated. We showed them that we were prepared to play. We got the momentum and didn't let go."
Tomas Fleischmann is two assists away from 100 for his career and Stephen Weiss is slated to play in his 572nd game as a Panther -- one short of Robert Svehla for second on the club's all-time list. Radek Dvorak is first with 613 contests played.
The Panthers are riding a season-best, five-game points streak (2-0-3) and are 4-1-3 in the past eight games.
Winnipeg is back home after going 3-2-2 on a season-long seven-game road trip. It has lost three in a row and suffered a 6-5 setback in overtime at Buffalo on Tuesday.
Bryan Little scored twice and both Dustin Byfuglien and Tanner Glass contributed a goal and an assist for the Jets, who got 39 saves on 45 shots from goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. Evander Kane recorded four goals and two assists during the trek and Pavelec appeared in all seven games, posting a .910 save percentage in that stretch.
"We would have liked to get two points here and it was within our grasp," Jets coach Claude Noel said on the team's website. "I think we shot ourselves in the foot because we were in the box most of the time."
Winnipeg gave up 12 minor penalties and logged 39 penalty minutes. The Jets are 2-2-0 as the host this season.