Hats off to Patrik Laine as Jets beat Panthers 4-2 in Finland

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Patrik Laine and Aleksander Barkov (Getty Images)

The sightseeing portion of the trip is over. Now, the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers take to the ice for back-to-back games in Helsinki, Finland as part of the NHL Global Series.

While so much focus is on Finnish stars Patrik Laine of the Jets and Aleksander Barkov of the Panthers playing in their native country, the bottom line is that these are two important games Thursday and Friday because both clubs have not quite found their footing yet this season.

The Jets are a Stanley Cup favorite, and are a respectable 7-4-1 to start out 2018-19. However, their play has been far from consistent, especially 5-on-5, and they lost two of their past three games after starting the season by losing two of three. However, the Jets shine on special teams where they have at least one power play goal in eight consecutive games — and in ten of 12 games overall. The Jets power play is ranked third in the NHL, converting at 31.4 percent.

MORE: Patrik Laine, Aleksander Barkov look to inspire, leading NHL teams in Finland visit

Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele enters play on a five-game point-scoring streak as does sophomore winger Kyle Connor. Team captain Blake Wheeler has points in six straight. Scheifele leads the Jets with 12 points, while Connor and Wheeler are one behind.

Laine recently was demoted to the fourth line, and comes in with only three goals — all scored on the power play. His Finnish counterpart, Barkov, has only two goals, but does have eight points in nine games for the struggling Panthers, whose seven points are the fewest in the NHL. Newcomer Mike Hoffman, the former Ottawa Senator, has a team-high five goals, including goals in four consecutive games entering play Thursday.

Florida is 2-4-3 and comes in having lost two of three on a road trip to the Metro New York area. The Panthers do not have a win in regulation yet this season and eight of their nine games have been decided by one goal.

Follow along with our LIVE updates from Thursday’s Jets-Panthers game. Puck drops at 2 pm ET.

Third Period

4:52 That’ll do it! Horn sounds. The Jets grab the opener of this back-to-back set in Finland. Jets win 4-2.

4:49 Laine completes hat trick in return home to Finalnd, hitting empty net from his own end of the ice with 42.7 seconds to play. Jets lead 4-2.

4:48 Reimer pulled for extra attacker with roughly 90 seconds to play.

4:47 The Panthers kill off both penalties, still down by one with 2:27 to play.

4:42 Florida’s Aaron Ekblad called for interference penalty. Jets with a 5 on 3 power play for 31 seconds.

4:41 Laine in alone on power play shoots just over the net — just misses finishing off a hat trick.

4:38 Laine breaks in and is slashed by Hoffman. Jets to the power play at 14:03.

4:37 Power play is over, not before Hellebuyck with point-blank save on Dadonov. The Jets netminder has 35 saves today.

4:36 Great pressure by Florida, led by Jonathan Huberdeau. But the Panthers can’t score and after extended shift in o-zone, Jets clear.

4:31 Panthers heading to crucial power play at 10:19. Josh Morrissey off for interference.

4:30 Tyler Myers with shot off the rush, stopped by Reimer. Then Myers takes on a pair of Panthers behind the net with a little post-whistle hatred. No penalties. Midway through the third.

4:17 Laine strikes again! His second power play goal of the game, also from the left circle, puts the Jets up one again. Jets lead 3-2.

4:15 Florida’s Keith Yandle takes down Nik Ehlers and Jets back to the power play at 2:45.

4:14 Panthers kill it off! A couple big drives by Laine and Byfuglien, but score remains even.

4:11 Third period is underway with the red-hot Jets power play going back to work, with a fresh sheet of ice and a full two minutes to work with.

Second Period

3:54 Jets have blocked 19 shots through two periods. Blake Wheeler leads the way with four blocks. 

3:53 Dadonov takes tripping penalty as period comes to a close. Jets will start third period on the power play. Panthers up 32-22 in shots. Game tied 2-2.

3:49 Panthers tie it! Evgenii Dadonov deflects a Mike Matheosn pass past Hellebuyck for his fifth goal. Bjugstad adds an assist at 17:54. Game tied 2-2.

3:47 Hellebuyck robs Nick Bjugstad with his pads on wide-open rebound attempt.

3:43 Patrik Laine snaps from left circle, beating Reimer short side and the Jets regain the lead at 15:14. Laine’s fourth goal on the season — all on the power play — and it’s quite pleasing to this crowd of Finns. Jets lead 2-1.

3:41 First Jets power play coming up as Florida’s Alex Petrovic whistled for tripping minor at 15:03. Jets own the NHL’s 3rd-best power play and have at least one PPG in eight straight games.

3:29 Excellent penalty kill by Jets — one good save by Hellebuyck on Mike Hoffman — and Lowry is back on the ice.

3:19 Winnipeg’s Dave Lowry to the box for elbowing Denis Malgin at 6:29. He doesn’t like it. Lets officials know. Assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, as well. Four-minute power play for the Panthers.

3:17 Florida’s Keith Yandle hammers a power play goal past Hellebuyck. Barkov with the sweet, soft pass to pick up primary assist. Game Tied 1-1.

3:16 Jacob Trouba heads to the box at 4:03. Panthers second power play coming up. Will start 4 on 3.

3:13 Just 2:25 into the period, Jets d-man Ben Chiarot called for holding penalty, and Florida’s Vincent Trochek whistled for embellishment as he flops to ice. Skating 4 on 4.

3:11 Period number two underway.

First Period

2:56 Aaron Ekblad led all skaters with 4 shots on goal in the period. Teammate Keith Yandle logged 9:22 worth of ice-time. Dustin Byfuglienled the Jets with 3 shots and 7:52.

2:55 First half of the period belonged to the Panthers. Second half to Jets. Florida outshoots Winnipeg 15-13. Jets lead 1-0

2:54 Jets break through first! Reimer stops Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little before Mathieu Perreault buries a rebound. His second goal of the season comes at 18:34. Jets lead 1-0

2:52 Back at 5 on 5, Dave Lowery shot in close, off Reimer, pucks rolls behind him, Jared McCann sweeps it away with three minutes to play.. Laine follows with shot from slot. Another save by Reimer.

2:42 Panthers awarded game’s first power play at 12:31 mark of first period as Dmitry Kulikov goes off for high sticking Jonathan Huberdeau. Scoreless game, but Florida up 11-6 in shots.

2:37 Laine now has the puck pop out on to his stick by right circle, quick shot, save Reimer.

2:35 Barkov slips pass between defenders and sends Evgenii Dadonov in alone on Hellebuyck at 7:22 of first period, but shot hits crossbar, up and out of play.

2:31 Right before first TV timeout, the Jets with first sustained pressure in offensive zone. Three shots, including trick Jacob Trouba slap shot through d-man’s legs — all turned aside by James Reimer. At the other end of the ice, Hellebuyck with nine saves already.

2:27 Barkov wakes up the crowd with a steal, weaves into offensive zone, eventually leading to in-tight backhand shot by Aaron Ekblad. Nearly five minutes in, scoreless.

2:24 First couple minutes of game, Panthers controlling play in offensive zone. Vincent Trochek rips a shot off the mask of Connor Hellebuyck, and mask falls off. Early play stoppage.

2:21 Puck dropped and away we go in Helsinki!

2:19 The Finnish Flash — Teemu Selanne — droppping the ceremonial first puck. No surprise as Laine and Barkov step in for the take the draw.

2:10 Closing in on drop of the puck. Starting lineups:

1:45

1:40 Warmups underway in Helsinki! Connor Hellebuyck in goal for the Jets. James Reimer starts for the Panthers.

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10:30 Some pregame news: the Panthers activated goalie Roberto Luongo from IR where he resided since suffering a knee injury in the season opener. And Jets coach Paul Maurice announced that Dmitri Kulikov draws into Thursday’s lineup at the expense of Joe Morrow. It is the third scratch in the past four games for Morrow.

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