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Jets rally to win in OT, spoil potential Panthers party
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Andrew Ladd's second goal of the contest came with 1:48 remaining in overtime, as Winnipeg rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat Florida, 5-4.
Blake Wheeler carried down the left wing, then cut towards the slot, leaving a drop pass for the Winnipeg captain, who scored on a wrister from the inner edge of the left circle.
"It's something we talked about. Playing for each other and owing it to ourselves to finish this up the right way and do the right things. After a bit of a rough start, I think we started to do those right things," Ladd said.
Zach Bogosian and Bryan Little posted a goal and assist each for the Jets, who have won two of three.
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 34 shots for the victory.
Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann and Tomas Kopecky tallied for the Panthers, who could have wrapped up a playoff berth and division title with a victory. Nonetheless, Florida remains on the verge of clinching with the point beyond regulation, and extended its lead in the Southeast Division over idle Washington to four points.
Jose Theodore allowed five scores on 30 shots in defeat.
"It's hard to express the disappointment," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "There's a little bit of shock by all of us."
Marco Sturm gave the hosts a lead with just under eight minutes left in the first period potting a Dmitry Kulikov rebound, and Versteeg doubled the edge thanks on a power play less than two minutes later.
Fleischmann put the Panthers up 3-0 with just 25 seconds gone in the middle period, but the Jets began their uphill climb.
Kane finished off a 2-on-1 with Spencer Machacek by tapping the pass home from the left post with 6:45 remaining.
Bogosian made it a one-goal margin with a long slapper at 17:21, then Ladd brought Winnipeg all the way back at the 53-second mark of the third on a shot through Theodore's pads from the right wing.
Little beat Theodore on the advantage at the 3:45 mark of the final period and the Jets moved ahead 4-3, but Kopecky's turnaround shot from the outer edge of the left circle made it 4-4 with 3:53 remaining.
Pavelec stoned Fleischmann on a breakaway inside the final 20 seconds and got the visitors to the extra session.
The clubs split the six-game season series...Florida has only made the playoffs on three occasions since arriving in the NHL for the 1993-94 season (1996, '97 and 2000)...Kane reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career...Ladd posted his third multi-goal effort of the season...Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien each posted two helpers for Winnipeg.
04/04 01:33:48 ET