Winnipeg Jets Crush the Florida Panthers 7-0 to Leap Back into a Playoff Spot

Anthony CapocciContributor IMarch 1, 2012

Wheeler and Kane having fun after Wheeler scored a goal where Kane tried to get a hat trick late in the third period.
Wheeler and Kane having fun after Wheeler scored a goal where Kane tried to get a hat trick late in the third period.Marianne Helm/Getty Images

The Jets went all-out tonight and put up a whopping seven goals to beat the Florida Panthers by the score of 7-0.

It was probably the most important game of the season to date, and it was the most dominating performance in the goal-scoring department for Winnipeg.

The Jets were coming off a two-game losing streak that featured a blown lead in the third period against Edmonton on Monday. Tonight, the Jets opened the floodgates in the third period, scoring five of their seven goals in the final frame.

The Panthers played just fine until that third period, trailing only 2-0 after the second. It's safe to say the third period was the difference-maker in this one.

Evander Kane lead the team with two goals and two assists, making a bid for the first ever hat trick in Winnipeg Jets history. Kane had multiple chances to achieve the feat, but he was unable to get a third goal. Kane now has 26 goals and 46 points on the season. He is on an eight-game point streak during which he has accumulated seven goals and seven assists.

Blake Wheeler also had a multi-point performance that gave him 53 points on the season.

The Panthers played well enough to at least put up some goals, but Ondrej Pavelec was brilliant in net, stopping all 33 shots aimed his way. It was Pavelec's fourth shutout of the season.

The game between these two teams battling for the Southeast division lead was as important as it gets in the NHL.

The Jets entered action trailing the Panthers by four points for the division lead and trailing the Washing Capitals by one point for the eighth seed in the Eastern conference.

The Jets have found themselves back into a playoff spot, but for how long this time?

The Panthers and Capitals both have three games in hand on the Jets. With the Jets idle for three days and both the Panthers and Capitals competing twice this weekend, there will surely be some balancing out come Monday.