Miami Sports Day

NHL: Panthers Point to Missed Opportunities in Loss to Jets

HELSINKI – In the first game of their Global Series back-to-back, Finland native Patrik Laine scored a hat trick to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers in front of a sold-out crowd of 13,490 on Thursday night at Hartwall Arena.

As it has been in nearly every game this season, the Panthers had no trouble generating plenty of chances on offense, but simply couldn’t bury enough of them.

By the time the final horn had sounded, Florida held a huge advantage over the Jets in shot attempts (53-38), scoring chances (27-11) and high-danger scoring chances (10-4) at 5-on-5.

Again, they had no victory to show for it.

“It’s frustrating right now,” said Panthers winger Nick Bjugstad, who recorded one assist. “A lot of tight games that we let slip away. Got to keep plugging away. That’s 10 games in for us, but there’s still a lot of season to go. We’ve got to try to keep the same mentality and start digging a little deeper. I think it’s one or two plays that makes the difference.”

In the end, the biggest difference came on special teams, where the Panthers sent Winnipeg to six power plays, including a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities. And although Florida went 1-for-5 with the man advantage, the Jets finished 2-for-6, with Laine scoring both goals from the left circle.

“We generated a ton of chances, much like our 5-on-5 game,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said of the special teams battle. “We didn’t capitalize on them, obviously. On our PK, I thought we did some good things… You don’t want to take a 5-on-3 against these guys.”

The Panthers (2-5-3) will play the Jets again tomorrow before heading back to South Florida.

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