Jets top Panthers 5-2, spoil Maurice’s return to Winnipeg

Carter Verhaeghe of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck during the second period of their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on December 1, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) (Derek Cain, 2022 Derek Cain)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Kyle Connor had two goals and an assist as the Jets spoiled Paul Maurice’s return to Winnipeg with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Mark Scheifele had a pair of power-play goals and Adam Lowry added an empty-net goal for the Jets. Pierre-Luc Dubois finished with three assists. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 38 of 40 shots as Winnipeg improved to 9-3-0 at home.

Zac Dalpe and Carter Verhaeghe scored for Florida. Spencer Knight made 12 saves on 15 shots before being replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky early in the second. Bobrovsky stopped 16 of 17 shots.

The game marked Maurice’s return to Winnipeg, where he spent parts of nine seasons coaching the Jets before leaving abruptly midway through last season. The 55-year-old Maurice signed on as Florida’s bench boss in June.

Dalpe, a recent call-up, pulled the Panthers 4-2 at the 9:02 mark of the third period. He beat Hellebuyck after a nifty passing play from Chris Tierney and Matt Kiersted.

Scheifele scored his second of the game on a power play in the second period.

With Panthers defenseman Josh Mahura off for boarding Blake Wheeler, Scheifele converted a perfect pass from Connor alone in front of Bobrovsky at 13:23. Defenseman Nate Schmidt also assisted.

Connor increased the advantage to 3-1 early in the second. He stole the puck from Florida forward Ryan Lomberg in the Panthers’ zone and quickly passed to Dubois, who passed it back. Connor then fired a shot past Knight at the 1:43 mark.

Winnipeg took a 2-1 lead 17 seconds after the Panthers had tied the score. Connor fired the puck past Knight after taking a pass from Dubois. Defenseman Brenden Dillon also assisted.

The Panthers had knotted the score at 1-1 on the power play. Just 49 seconds after the Jets had scored, Verhaeghe snapped a shot past Hellebuyck with Dillon off for interference. Forward Matthew Tkachuk and defenseman Brandon Montour had the assists.

The Jets opened the scoring on a power play in the first. With Florida forward Sam Bennett off for high-sticking, Scheifele converted a perfect pass from Dubois at the 13:20 mark. Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey started the play.

NOTES: Former Jets coaches Maurice and Jamie Kompon received a standing ovation after a video tribute during the first period. The coaches smiled and waved in appreciation. … Maurice said earlier Tuesday he would likely have removed the C from Blake Wheeler’s jersey eventually had he stayed in Winnipeg because players in their mid-thirties tend to lose touch with the younger players. … Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck played his 400 NHL career game. … The contest was the last of a five-game road trip by the Panthers, who called up forward Chris Tierney from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers to replace Patric Hornqvist (upper body), who has been placed on injured reserve. They also recalled Dalpe and defenseman Matt Kiersted from Charlotte.


Florida: Host Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

Winnipeg: At St. Louis on Thursday in the first of a two-game trip.


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