Kris Versteeg scored a pair of goals and added an assist as the Florida Panthers handed the Jets a 4-3 shootout loss on Saturday night.
“We had clear possession of the puck three times in our (defensive) zone, with really not a lot of pressure, and we served up three pizzas that ended up in our net,” Noel said.
“Having said that, we battled back.”
Mikael Samuelsson netted his team’s winning goal in the shootout, which used 14 skaters, and Florida snapped an eight-game road losing streak.
Mike Santorelli also scored in regulation and Scott Clemmensen stopped 41 shots for the Panthers (22-15-10), who also ended an overall four-game losing skid.
“We just needed (the win), so throw all the stats out the window," said Clemmensen "(It) was a gutsy win for us.”
Winnipeg (22-20-6) got two goals from Nik Antropov, while Alexander Burmistrov added another and Kyle Wellwood had two assists. Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec faced 23 shots.
Antropov agreed turnovers were the difference in the outcome.
“If you look at the tape, all three or at least two goals so far came from our turnovers,” he said. “So it’s unfortunate, but as I said we got a point so we’re still in the race.”
Winnipeg was down 2-0 after the first period on goals by Versteeg at 5:40 and Santorelli with 16 seconds left.
Antropov’s first goal of the night on the power play made it 2-1 five minutes into the second period and he tied it up with his eighth of the season at 5:54 of the third.
But just 57 seconds later, Versteeg took advantage of a Jets’ turnover to notch his second of the game and regain a 3-2 lead.
The Jets tied it 3-3 when Burmistrov’s wrist shot went just inside the post at 13:45.
Winnipeg outshot Florida 40-20 during regulation time.
Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen praised his backup goalie for a “really solid game.”
“You look at his record (6-2-4) he's done a really good job for us this year,” Dineen said. “That's the nature of life, you know. Sometimes you're waiting for an opportunity. When opportunity comes up you jump at it and he certainly showed that tonight.”
Winnipeg was 1-5 on the power play and Florida 0-3.
The Jets were without leading goal scorer Evander Kane, who told team medical staff on Friday of headaches and was diagnosed with a concussion. It’s not known when or how he suffered the injury. He had 18 goals and 31 points.
Tim Stapleton was also out for Winnipeg, but the Jets did have defenceman Zach Bogosian back on the ice after he missed the past five with a lower-body injury.
“Everything felt good out there,” Bogosian said.
But getting two points would have been better as Winnipeg sits 10th in the Eastern standings, two points back of the final playoff position.
“It’s so tight (in the standings), that any time you can get a point it’s always good, but obviously the two points would be better,” Bogosian said.
The Jets play their next six games on the road and don’t hit home ice again until Feb. 7. Their road record is 7-12-4.