Florida Panthers

Jaromir Jagr scores winner, Reilly Smith nets two as Panthers top Winnipeg

Florida Panthers’ Dmitry Kulikov (7), Jaromir Jagr (68) and Jussi Jokinen (36) celebrate after Jagr scored against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Florida Panthers’ Dmitry Kulikov (7), Jaromir Jagr (68) and Jussi Jokinen (36) celebrate after Jagr scored against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. AP

Reilly Smith had two goals and Jaromir Jagr scored the winner to send the Florida Panthers past the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Tuesday night in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Smith’s goals were his 20th and 21st of the season for Florida, which snapped a first-place tie with Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division. Jagr scored his 21st, and Vincent Trocheck assisted on both of Smith’s goals.

Dustin Byfuglien and rookie Andrew Copp scored in the second period for Winnipeg, which lost its fifth straight home game.

Roberto Luongo made 30 saves for the Panthers, who improved to 1-1-1 on a five-game road trip.

Ondrej Pavelec stopped 19 shots for the Jets, who began a five-game homestand. They are 13-15-1 on home ice and they play a season-high 11 games at home in March.

Winnipeg led 2-1 going into the third period, but Smith’s second goal on the power play, while Copp was in the penalty box for slashing, tied it at 1:46.

Jagr made it 3-2 when his shot went off the stick of Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba at 3:31. Jagr is two points from tying Gordie Howe (1,850) for third in NHL history.

Smith scored the game’s first goal at 13:48 of the first. Trocheck brought the puck over the blue line and sent a pass over to Smith as he skated straight at Pavelec and redirected the puck into the net.

The Jets challenged the play, claiming Trocheck was offside, but the review was inconclusive and the goal stood.

Luongo turned aside 16 shots in the first period, while Pavelec let in one of the five he faced.

Byfuglien made it 1-all when he banged in a rebound off Nikolaj Ehlers’ shot in front of the net at 5:23 of the second.

Copp scored his second goal of the season, and first since Oct. 31, a couple of minutes later on a breakaway just a second after a Winnipeg penalty expired.

Alexander Burmistrov sent Copp a pass from near center ice. He gloved it down, went in on Luongo, deked and shot the puck between his pads at 7:58.

After Smith tied it 2-all, Jagr got the go-ahead goal 45 seconds later.


▪ Mike McKenna backed up Roberto Luongo on Tuesday night after being called up on an emergency basis from Florida’s AHL team in Portland, Maine, on Monday.

McKenna, 32, filled in for Al Montoya who was knocked out of Sunday’s loss in Minnesota after being struck in the head during the first period.

“It’s a great testament to the organization in how many guys have been able to come up from our team in Portland and step into Florida and do a good job,’’ said McKenna, who has played in 22 NHL games but only seven since playing in 15 with Tampa Bay during the 2008-09 season.

“It’s nice to see the direction we’re going and it’s nice to see their faces again. The young guys are getting a chance here. The organization is giving us every chance to succeed.’’

▪ Of the three newly acquired players, only defenseman Jakub Kindl didn’t play against the Jets. Kindl, 29, was a healthy scratch as the Panthers went with Steven Kampfer and Alex Petrovic as their third pairing.

The Panthers sent a sixth round draft pick to Detroit for Kindl.

“It’s a dream come true, being able to play hockey in Florida,’’ said Kindl, who has been sent to the minors by the Red Wings after playing in 25 games with Detroit this season.

“It was a little emotional leaving Detroit after all these years, I knew a lot of good people and had a lot of great teammates so it was a little sad. But I’m very excited to go to a team like this. … As a former Red Wings player, playing against this team, they always gave us trouble. There are a lot of young guys, great talent and a lot of speed.’’

▪ Florida signed one of its top prospects to an entry level contract Tuesday as Jayce Hawryluk agreed to a deal with the team.

Hawryluk, 20, is having a very strong junior season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of Canada’s Western Hockey League, scoring 30 goals with 79 points in 49 games.

Last month, Hawryluk had seven goals and 33 points in just 13 games including six points with two goals on Feb. 17.

Hawryluk, a second round pick in 2014, will be eligible to join the Panthers or their AHL team once his junior season is complete.

▪ Smith’s first goal, which gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first period, was his first since scoring against the Jets in Sunrise on Feb. 20. His second goal was his 21st of the season, which ties his career high set two years ago with Boston. Smith also became the second Florida player with 20 goals, along with Jagr.


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