Sliding Jets return home to face Panthers
(Sports Network) - The Winnipeg Jets were hoping to improve their play on the road this season, but a recent winless road trip did little to establish confidence.
The Jets will welcome a return home on Tuesday evening as they take on a Florida Panthers team seeking a third straight victory.
In its first season after relocating from Atlanta, Winnipeg had one of the top home records in 2011-12, going 23-13-5 at MTS Centre. The franchise still missed out on the playoffs for a fifth straight year as it went just 14-22-5 on the road.
That trend hasn't reversed itself this season. The Jets have won two of their three home games, but stand at 1-3-1 on the road after giving up 18 goals on a three-game road trip that destroyed the momentum of a three-game winning streak.
The Jets, who are set to play two straight and five of their next six at home, were blown out by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, trailing by six goals after 40 minutes in an eventual 8-3 loss.
Ondrej Pavelec allowed five goals on just 14 shots for Winnipeg before being removed midway through the second period in favor of Al Montoya, who gave up three goals on 11 shots in the setback.
"Obviously the game got out of hand," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said. "We're going to move forward and try to take some positives out of this thing. I'm not going to dwell on that type of game."
One positive was defenseman Tobias Enstrom extending his point streak to a career high-tying six straight games with a goal and two assists. He has notched eight assists and 10 points in that span.
Paul Postma scored his first NHL goal and had two helpers, while Andrew Ladd added a goal and an assist.
Winnipeg has played its last two games without defenseman Dustin Byfuglien due to a lower-body injury and his status for this game is unknown.
The Jets were bested in Tampa one day after losing a 6-3 decision to the Florida Panthers, who snapped a five-game losing streak thanks to a five-goal third period that came from five different goal-scorers.
Alex Kovalev had the game-winner, while Kris Versteeg and Peter Mueller were among those who lit the lamp in the final frame.
Florida then made it two wins in a row with Sunday's 4-3 comeback over the Buffalo Sabres.
George Parros and Mueller scored in the second period to erase a two-goal deficit and defenseman Brian Campbell kept the momentum going by scoring the winning goal on the power play in the third.
"You find momentum wherever you can do it, and if that was the rallying point, so be it," said Parros of his goal, which came with 9:39 left in the stanza. "We started just playing sound hockey after that point."
Mueller scored a goal in a fourth straight game for the first time in his career.
Jose Theodore stopped 17 shots in the victory as the Panthers opened up a four-game swing with their first road triumph of the season.
Though Florida won't have forward Scottie Upshall and defenseman Ed Jovanovski on this trip due to injury, forward Stephen Weiss returned following a four- game absence caused by a lower-body injury and had an assist.
The Panthers did win two of three in Winnipeg last season, but was pounded 7-0 in its last trip there on March 1. Evander Kane had two goals and four points for the Jets, while Pavelec notched a 33-save shutout.
02/05 11:09:38 ET