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Panthers down Jets, extend division lead

Feb 4, 2012 - 3:40 AM
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Scott Clemmensen turned away 20 shots and the Florida Panthers expanded their lead in the Southeast Division with a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at BankAtlantic Center.

Kris Versteeg and Sean Bergenheim supplied the goals for the Panthers, who have won three of their last four games.

Florida, which improved to 13-5-7 at home, moved three points ahead of second- place Washington in the division standings. The Jets are five points off the pace.

Bryan Little had the lone goal for Winnipeg, which was vying for its first three-game winning streak as the visitor since December 4-13, 2010. The Jets fell to 2-3-0 on their six-game road trip.

Chris Mason made 28 saves in defeat.

The Panthers opened the scoring when Mikael Samuelsson fed Versteeg for a power-play goal at the 15:46 mark of the first period.

Versteeg, who pumped home his team-leading 20th goal of the season, returned to the lineup after missing Florida's 4-2 victory over Washington on Wednesday because of the flu.

The Jets are likely sick of Versteeg after the 25-year-old right winger lit the lamp for the sixth time in four meetings with Winnipeg this season.

Little tied the game by beating Clemmensen between the pads with a wrister from the middle of the left circle at 11:29 of the second period.

However, Bergenheim converted Marcel Goc's pass from behind the net 2:58 later to put Florida back on top.

Clemmensen posted seven saves during the final 20 minutes.

Game Notes

Versteeg has scored at least 20 goals for the fourth time in his career. He is two shy of his personal best set with Chicago in 2008-09...The Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise had won four straight at Florida...The Panthers improved to 9-1-2 against Canadian opponents this season...Winnipeg fell to 0-9-0 in the second half of a back-to-back in 2011-12.