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Jets rip Panthers, vault into playoff picture

Mar 2, 2012 - 5:59 AM Winnipeg, MB (Sports Network) - Evander Kane tallied four points on two goals and two assists, while Ondrej Pavelec stopped 33 shots to record his fourth shutout of the year, as Winnipeg ripped Florida, 7-0, at MTS Centre.

Blake Wheeler and Kyle Wellwood added a goal and helper each for the Jets, who put the brakes on a two-game slide and won for the fifth time in eight contests.

"We still have to focus on the task. We're happy, the players get in an offensive night, we don't get too many like this," Wheeler said. "We wanted to focus on playing a playoff-style game."

Bryan Little, Jim Slater and Nik Antropov also scored as Winnipeg vaulted into second place in the Southeast Division over idle Washington and into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Jose Theodore was shelled for four goals on 24 shots before he was pulled in the third period for the Panthers, whose three-game win streak ended.

Scott Clemmensen allowed three goals on eight shots the rest of the way.

Already ahead by two, the Jets blitzed the visitors in the final 20 minutes.

Wellwood put the home team up by a 3-0 count less than two minutes in when he got in the way of a Mark Stuart slapper from the left point. Little added a score just over 4 1/2 minutes in when he tapped in a Wheeler dish from a 5- on-1 break.

Clemmensen's rude introduction came when Antropov and Kane lit the lamp in a 12-second span after the midway point for a 6-0 contest.

Wheeler's rebound goal capped the rout with 2:02 to play.

Kane put the Jets on the board just after the four-minute mark, when he batted an attempted clear out of mid-air in the high slot and beat Theodore through the five-hole.

Slater doubled the edge just over two minutes later by converting a Stuart rebound.

Pavelec stopped 17 shots and Theodore halted eight in a scoreless second period.

"We can't play that kind of hockey in October and you certainly can't play it in March," said Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen. "It's definitely a man's game this time of year and we did not look prepared. We didn't respond to pressure well early and that is the difference in the hockey game."

Game Notes

Pavelec now has 10 career whitewashes...Winnipeg improved to 8-0 this season when holding a two-goal lead after one period...Kane extended his point streak to eight games (7G, 7A)...The Jets have scored first in six of its last seven games...Thursday's win marked the largest margin of victory for the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise over Florida since entering NHL in 1999..The previous high was six goals, coming in a 6-0 decision on October 7, 2006.