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Kyle Connor, Jets put away Panthers late

Kyle Connor had two goals and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets opened their home schedule with a 6-4 victory over the Florida Panthers.

Mark Scheifele and Mason Appleton each had a goal and an assist. Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 29 shots in Winnipeg’s first win of the season.

Evan Rodrigues led the Panthers with two goals and two assists. Sam Reinhart notched a goal and an assist and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 stops for Florida, which has lost its first two games.

Scheifele scored the opening tally on a power play 3:30 into the game, streaking down the middle of the ice and firing the puck into the net.

Florida’s Sam Reinhart responded on the man-advantage, chipping home the puck from the side of the cage, knotting things up at 1-1 with 2:57 remaining in the first frame.

The visitors took a 2-1 lead 25 seconds into the middle stanza. A shot from the point was left loose in the crease and cleaned up by Rodrigues.

That lead only lasted 10 seconds. Connor, parked in front, wired a wraparound pass from Scheifele, restoring the tie at 2-2.

The Jets regained the lead at the 11:40 mark of the second. Rasmus Kupari created a rebound in the crease that Morgan Barron polished off, installing a 3-2 advantage.

The Jets extended their margin to 4-2 only 1:35 later, following a snipe from Dylan DeMelo.

On a penalty kill in the third, Adam Lowry pulled a stick off the bench to send Appleton on a breakaway with 5:43 remaining for a 5-2 lead.

However, the game was far from over.

The Panthers scored a pair of empty-net goals 65 seconds apart, by Carter Verhaeghe and Rodrigues, to trim the deficit to 5-4.

Matthew Tkachuk hit the post on a partial break soon after that, then Connor put the game away, scoring into an empty net with 1:10 remaining.

–Field Level Media

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