WINNIPEG -- A thrilling shootout ended in heartbreak for the Winnipeg Jets, who dropped a divisional tilt against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
After a scoreless overtime period, 12 shooters took to the ice in the shootout, as the Jets and Panthers matched goal-for-goal and miss-for-miss. But the Panthers' Mikael Samuelsson fired one past Jets tender Ondrej Pavelec to win the game.
The Panthers bit early in the key divisional tilt, scoring two unanswered first-period goals: one from Panthers star Kris Versteeg almost six minutes into the first, another from center Mike Santorelli with only 16 seconds left in the period.
But while the normally rowdy MTS Centre crowd trembled, forward Nik Antropov kept the Jets in the game. The big forward potted a goal early in the second on a feed from Kyle Wellwood to bring the game to within a point.
A little over six minutes into the third period, Antropov scored again, stickhandling a beauty around the Panthers’ crease before firing it past Panthers tender Scott Clemmensen.
That goal, Antropov’s eighth goal of the season, tied the game and sent the hungry MTS Centre crowd into a frenzy.
But the euphoria in the MTS Centre didn’t last long. Less than a minute after the Jets’ second goal, Versteeg fired a shot on the Jets net and watched the puck bounce into and then over Pavelec to put the Panthers up by one.
Forward Alex Burmistrov pushed the Jets into overtime, rifling a shot past Clemmensen late in the third to tie the game at 3 and bringing the crowd to its feet with just over six minutes left in regulation time.