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Jets stay hot at home, hammer Panthers

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) - Evander Kane scored two goals and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Florida Panthers 7-2 on Thursday night to tie the New York Rangers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

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Aaron Gagnon, Andrew Ladd, Grant Clitsome, Dustin Byfuglien and Chris Thorburn also scored to help Winnipeg win its third straight and increase its points total to 44. The Jets are two points behind Southeast Division-leading Washington.

T.J. Brennan and Tomas Fleischmann scored for Florida.

The Jets led 3-2 lead after a wild first period that featured four goals in less than 3 minutes.

Gagnon got things started with his second career NHL goal. He was parked in front of the net and deflected Blake Wheeler's shot from the point past Jacob Markstrom at 3:54.

Less than a minute later, Brennan deflected one past Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec.

Kane scored 18 seconds later, tipping the puck past a sprawling Markstrom to put the Jets ahead again, but Fleischmann countered with a wrist shot that slipped under Pavelec's leg.

Winnipeg coach Claude Noel then called a timeout to try and settle things down and it seemed to work.

Ladd put the Jets back in front at 3-2 lead at the 12:42 mark of the first.

Florida put on more pressure in the second, but the Jets added to their lead, starting just past the 10-minute mark when Bryan Little fed Clitsome in the slot on a power play.

Byfuglien drilled one past Markstrom from the point 28 seconds later, and Kane dashed in behind the sprawling goaltender to slip one into an empty net at 11:58.

That was enough for coach Kevin Dineen, who put veteran Scott Clemmensen in the net.

The frustrated Panthers ended the second by handing the Jets a five-on-three power play. It started with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against George Parros after he failed to goad Chris Thorburn into a fight, followed by an illegal check to Little's head by Eric Gudbranson.

Thorburn deflected Ron Hainsey's shot past Clemmensen at the 11:53 mark of the third.

Notes: Jets captain Andrew Ladd has a four-game points streak. ... Paul Postma replaced injured defenseman Tobias Enstrom in Winnipeg's lineup.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
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