Mathieu Perreault scores shootout winner as Jets get past Panthers
Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault (85) celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during NHL shootout action in Winnipeg on Thursday, December 15, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, December 16, 2016 8:44AM CST
WINNIPEG -- Mathieu Perreault thought he would try to take advantage of being left-handed and it worked.
After some of his Jets teammates couldn't beat Roberto Luongo on his glove side, the veteran forward picked up the puck in the sixth round of the shootout and gave Winnipeg the deciding goal in a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers Thursday.
"Coming down as a lefty, sometimes low blocker is an option and it was there for me so I took it," said Perreault, who began with some slow stick-handling toward the veteran goaltender.
Bryan Little also scored in the shootout for Winnipeg and Vincent Trocheck had Florida's goal in the shooting contest.
Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and an assist, with Adam Lowry and Little also chipping in during regulation for Winnipeg (14-16-3), which ended a four-game losing streak. Connor Hellebuyck made 41 saves in net.
Aleksander Barkov, Reilly Smith and Trocheck scored a trio of power-play goals in the second period for Florida (13-13-5). Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom was in the penalty box for each one. Smith added an assist.
Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice wasn't dumping on Enstrom after the game.
"I'm not worried about Toby's penalties. He's not a careless player and he's not a lazy player by any means," said Maurice.
The coach is, though, concerned about his team's power play, which went 0 for 2 while the Panthers were 3 for 3. The Jets have given up at least one power-play goal in each of their past four games.
"I didn't think that our PK would play as poorly as it did, but it's good to win ugly," Maurice said.
Florida head coach Tom Rowe was impressed with his team's play with the man advantage.
"I think we were just moving it a little quicker, keeping it simple, getting more shots on net," he said. "And then when you get the penalty killers out of position, plays will open up."
Luongo made 29 stops for the Panthers.
"He was great," Rowe said of his goalie. "I mean, he's one of the best in the world for a reason and we're lucky to have him."
Florida had a 3-2 lead heading into the third period, but with the teams on a four-on-four, Little took a cross-ice pass from Blake Wheeler and shot it into the net at 2:36 as Luongo was sliding over from the other side.
Florida outshot the Jets 42-29 after three periods.
"We had enough leads in this game to close it out and you can't let those ones slip away," Smith said. "It's tough that it ended up going to a shootout because it's anyone's game at that point."
The Jets were being outshot 19-7 in the first when Byfuglien took a pass from rookie Patrik Laine and put a high shot from the bottom of the circle over Luongo's glove with 11 seconds left in the period.
The Panthers scored the power-play goals as Enstrom was sitting in the penalty box for interference, then holding, then interference again.
Barkov evened the game 1-1 at 4:51 of the second. Jaromir Jagr picked up his 1,129th career assist and 1,884th point on the goal. Jagr is now three points away from tying Mark Messier (1,887) for second on the NHL's all-time points list.
Smith followed up with his fifth goal of the season at 8:36 to give the Panthers the 2-1 lead, but Lowry put the Jets back in a tie at 10:11 when he banged in a loose puck.
Trocheck made it 3-2 with a shot that went past a screened Hellebuyck at 11:58.
Winnipeg had three shots on goal in overtime, while Florida had two. Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba watched as his shot banged off the post.
The Panthers finish a three-game road trip Friday against Colorado, while Winnipeg hosts the Avalanche Sunday.