Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom never knew what hit him, but after he was crushed into the boards by defenseman Erik Gudbranson the Panthers never looked back in a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night. However, there weren't many witnesses in the BB&T Center. After an announced 10,074 showed up for Tuesday's 4-2 loss to Ottawa — the lowest turnout since Halloween, 2007 — just 10,966 saw the Panthers snap a three-game losing streak and finish off the five-game homestand at 2-3. Gudbranson added the tying goal in the first period on his vastly improved slap shot to earn First Stars honors. He wasn't the only offensive contributor from the blue line as Gudbranson's check ignited a 3-on-2 break that resulted in a blistering wrist shot from defenseman Dylan Olsen, his first NHL goal in his 33rd game. That gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at 3:31 of the second that they wouldn't relinquish. "We really stepped up and took care of our own end first, and really forced them on offense so that was really huge for us tonight," said Gudbranson, who also notched an assist on Olsen's goal. "They were both trying to fight me. I was just trying to get up the ice. "[Olsen's] played really hard for us since he's been there. It's great to get that monkey off his back and get that first one out of the way." "Losing three in a row, we knew coming in we had to win every battle, put pucks on net and everybody had to contribute," said Olsen, who was sporting the goofy hero hat. "It's awesome, your first NHL goal is obviously exciting, and better because we got the win." Goalie Tim Thomas, making his 13th straight start, notched 29 saves for his seventh win.
Gudbranson's shot and check lift Panthers to 5-2 victory over Jets
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Dec 6