November 17, 2018

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Panthers pounce on power play

Florida scores three goals with Jets down a man

HELSINKI — The Winnipeg Jets were guilty as charged of some undisciplined play here Friday night, and the sins of fourth-line forward Brendan Lemieux really did them in.

The Jets surrendered three power-play goals, including a pair on Lemieux's indiscretions, and couldn't recover in a 4-2 defeat to the Florida Panthers to close out the 2018 NHL Global Series.

Just 24 hours before, Winnipeg won by the identical score.

The Jets generated plenty of buzz in the opening period to build a 2-1 lead, highlighted by a top-shelf shot by Patrik Laine with Florida a man short.

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HELSINKI — The Winnipeg Jets were guilty as charged of some undisciplined play here Friday night, and the sins of fourth-line forward Brendan Lemieux really did them in. 

The Jets surrendered three power-play goals, including a pair on Lemieux's indiscretions, and couldn't recover in a 4-2 defeat to the Florida Panthers to close out the 2018 NHL Global Series.

Just 24 hours before, Winnipeg won by the identical score.

The Jets generated plenty of buzz in the opening period to build a 2-1 lead, highlighted by a top-shelf shot by Patrik Laine with Florida a man short.

MacKenzie Weegar (left) and Brendan Lemieux duke it out Friday. Lemieux would later be assessed a match penalty for an illegal hit to the head of Vincent Trocheck and was kicked out of the game. (Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)</p>

MacKenzie Weegar (left) and Brendan Lemieux duke it out Friday. Lemieux would later be assessed a match penalty for an illegal hit to the head of Vincent Trocheck and was kicked out of the game. (Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)

But Panthers forward Mike Hoffman and blue-liner Keith Yandle replied with power-play markers in the second period, courtesy of some lapses in judgement by Lemieux.

The son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux — one of the game's classic trouble-makers — Brendan, 22, has always walked a thin line with his style of play in junior and in the early stages of his pro career, but he crossed well over to a darker side with a reckless hit on Vincent Trochek, blind-siding the Florida forward with a shoulder to the head in the second with the game knotted 2-2.

He was assessed a match penalty and kicked out of the game. The infraction comes with an indefinite suspension pending a review by the league's department of player safety.

With Lemieux out, Yandle's long shot from the point got through traffic and beat Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck with just 26 seconds left in the frame.

"The refs got it right," said Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice.

Nikolaj Ehlers (right) celebrates the Jets' first goal Friday with Ben Chiarot. (Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)

Nikolaj Ehlers (right) celebrates the Jets' first goal Friday with Ben Chiarot. (Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)

Panthers coach Bob Boughner had a very similar viewpoint.

"I thought it was the right call on the ice. It was high. It was to the head. And we all know, we’ve seen this enough times in the beginning of this season and in the past that the league is trying to get rid of this. Just glad Troch isn’t hurt," he said.

The Panthers (3-5-3), last in the Atlantic Division, shut down the Jets (8-5-1) in the third period thanks in large part to the terrific play of veteran goalie Roberto Luongo. He turned aside 17 shots in the final 20 minutes, and 32 over the course of the game.

Maurice maintained a strong start by his crew was squandered by an inability to get pucks to the net in the second period, and then penalty woes sealed its fate.

"We were good at the start. We’ve had a little bit of a problem with our shooters mentality over the course of the season, and that was true in the second, but we were in the box for a little bit of that and lost the momentum of the game we had built," he said.

Former Winnipeg Jet Teppo Numminen drops the ceremonial first puck between Patrik Laine (left) and Aleksander Barkov Friday in Helsinki, Finland. (Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)

Former Winnipeg Jet Teppo Numminen drops the ceremonial first puck between Patrik Laine (left) and Aleksander Barkov Friday in Helsinki, Finland. (Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)

"But the expectation that we would have three periods like the first would be somewhat disrespectful to the other hockey team. They played us very hard (Thursday) night and they made good on their chances. We didn’t get into the shooting lanes we needed to on our (penalty kill) and got a bad break on the one and that’s the game.

"You give up three on the PK, you’re not winning."

Lemieux was in the box earlier in the middle frame for a careless high-sticking minor on Troy Brouwer when Hoffman whipped a shot by Hellebuyck.

Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers scored in the first period for Winnipeg.

Ehlers' highlight-reel goal opened the scoring at Hartwall Arena. He picked up a breakaway pass that was behind him from Blake Wheeler, spun with the puck and stayed on side, fired at Luongo and then tucked in his own rebound for a 1-0 Jets lead.

Patrik Laine celebrates the Jets' second goal against the Florida Panthers Friday. (Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)

Patrik Laine celebrates the Jets' second goal against the Florida Panthers Friday. (Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)

Evgenii Dadonov replied for Florida with centre Mark Scheifele in the box serving a slashing minor. Frank Vatrano added some insurance for the Panthers in the third.

Luongo was a surprise starter for the Panthers after coming off the injured-reserve list Thursday following his recovery from a knee injury suffered in the season opener.

Hellebuyck made 22 stops.

The Jets spend the night here and then head home Saturday. The club will enjoy a few days off before beginning preparations for a four-game homestand beginning Friday against the Colorado Avalanche.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

Read full biography

History

Updated on Friday, November 2, 2018 at 4:12 PM CDT: adds photos

4:31 PM: Typo fixed.

6:21 PM: full write-thru, adds photo

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