The Florida Panthers will host the Winnipeg Jets tonight in the third of five meetings this season between Southeast Division foes. The series is split evenly right now–Florida nabbed a 6-3 win at home on Jan. 31 and Winnipeg won 3-2 in overtime at home on Feb. 5, although they did allow the Panthers to leave with a point from their overtime loss.
This is the start of a four-game road trip for Winnipeg that has three stops in Florida and then a jaunt up northeast to New Jersey. The Jets haven’t played in a few days and are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Washington Capitals as their most recent game.
Three is another important number for the Panthers, who have lost three straight games. Florida is also dealing with a huge swath of injuries right now, including the most recent announcement earlier today that Stephen Weiss is done for the season and needs wrist surgery. While the Jets understand that feeling since they’re missing Tobias Enstrom and Zach Redmond due to injuries, they are much more intact than the Cats on the whole.
Referring to a previous article about a selection of Jets who have good records against the Panthers, look to guys like Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Olli Jokinen and Dustin Byfuglien for production possibilities this evening.
Al Montoya is relatively untested in net against the Panthers throughout his career, but actually has pretty decent numbers against them in spite of the small sample size: a 1-1-0 record, a 1.30 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage. Still, expect to see Ondrej Pavelec (8-3-1, 2.60 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and a shutout) between the pipes this evening because he’s been there for the other two games against Florida this season. He’ll likely be up against Scott Clemmensen, who was in net when last these two met.
This intra-Southeast battle kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern tonight.