Florida Panthers

Goalie Nods: Rangers’ Skapski gets second NHL start

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Skapski starts vs. Sabres

Mackenzie Skapski will make his second career NHL start tonight as the New York Rangers visit the Buffalo Sabres. The 20-year-old got his first NHL win with a 24 save performance defeating the Sabres 3-1 on Feb. 20. Skapski was 12-7-3 to go along with a .914 save percentage and a 2.38 in 24 AHL games prior to being recalled.

Anders Lindback gets the nod for Buffalo.

Elsewhere…

Blackhawks at Sharks: Corey Crawford vs. Antti Niemi

Leafs at Canucks: Jonathan Bernier vs. Eddie Lack

Panthers at Hurricanes: Dan Ellis vs. Cam Ward

Canadiens at Islanders: Carey Price vs. Michal Neuvirth

Jets at Lightning: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy

Wild at Blues: Devan Dubnyk vs. Brian Elliott

Devils at Coyotes:Cory Schneider vs. Mike Smith

Flames at Avalanche: Karri Ramo vs. Semyon Varlamov

Predators at Kings: Pekka Rinne vs. Jonathan Quick

Postma returns, Myers out as Jets visit Lightning

With defenseman Tyler Myers expected to miss his first game due to an upper body injury, Paul Postma is will return to the Winnipeg Jets’ lineup against the Tampa May Lightning.

Myers was injured in Thursday’s loss to the Florida Panthers.

Jets’ coach Paul Maurice said the club expects to know more about Myers’ injury by Tuesday when he is checked out in Winnipeg.

“Some injuries take a few days before they settle down and before you can get a real good handle on where he’ll be going forward,” said Maurice per the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe.

Postma has been a healthy scratch in 27 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 8.

“Obviously it’s a tough one to go through, not only physically but mentally,” said Postma of being a scratch. “Getting that opportunity to be back in the lineup is awesome and I’m excited to be part of it.

“A big part of this game is confidence. Some days you have it, some you don’t. I have to have confidence in myself, know I’m here for a reason.”

The 26-year-old has two goals and six points to go along with a plus-2 rating while averaging 13:55 in ice time in 41 games this season.

He is expected to begin Saturday’s game paired with Mark Stuart.

Keaton Ellerby, who was recalled from the AHL on Friday, is expected to be a healthy scratch.

Winnipeg is 3-4-2 in its last nine and lost the only other meeting with Tampa Bay 4-2 on Oct. 24.

The recent slide has the Jets one point back of L.A. for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Panthers sign Kampfer to a two-year contract extension

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The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Steven Kampfer to a two-year extension the club announced on Saturday.

The 26-year-old was on a one-year, $550,000 deal and set to become a restricted free agent after this season.

Florida acquired Kampfer along with Andrew Yogan from the New York Rangers for Joey Crabb in October.

“Since we acquired Steven in October, he has been a welcome addition to our organization,” said Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon. “He has worked extremely hard since his recall and has fit very well into our line-up, contributing both offensively and defensively.

“Steven is most deserving of this contract extension and we look forward to his continued contributions to our club.”

Kampfer has a goal and three helpers to go along with a minus-3 rating while averaging 17:58 in ice time in 18 games with the Panthers this season.

He has also appeared in 42 AHL games with the San Antonio Rampage registering eight goals and 19 points.

Jets lose game, Myers vs. Panthers in key contest for Wild Card races

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Few teams in the NHL need points right now more than Florida and Winnipeg. The Panthers and Jets are key squads in the Eastern and Western Wild Card races respectively, so given the importance of this contest it was appropriately close. However, Florida ultimately squeaked by with a 4-2 victory.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr led the Panthers with two points each, but the hero tonight was 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov who scored the game-winning goal at 16:07 of the third period.

Nick Bjugstad helped himself to his 24th marker of 2014-15 by firing on an empty Jets net with less than a minute left in regulation time.

The Jets, which held the second Wild Card spot going into tonight’s action, desperately needed a win tonight with the defending champion Los Angeles Kings on their heels. However, the missed points might prove to be just the tip of the iceberg. The Jets also lost defenseman Tyler Myers after he crashed into the post and then boards.

Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice didn’t update Myers’ condition following the game, per the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe.

For Florida these two points help, but the Panthers’ situation is getting desperate. They’re chasing Boston for the second Wild Card spot and remain six points behind with just 15 games left. Meanwhile, the Senators are only one point back of Florida after Ottawa earned its ninth win in 11 games.

Related:

Video: MacKenzie dives forward to score incredible goal

Video: MacKenzie dives forward to score incredible goal

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The Florida Panthers displayed a lot of determination in their first goal against the Winnipeg Jets tonight.

Panthers forward Dave Bolland had to blindly shovel the puck forward just before he was slammed into the boards by Adam Pardy, leaving Derek MacKenzie to race for the puck as it cruised towards Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson. In order to create a scoring chance, MacKenzie dove forward and managed to knock the puck past Hutchinson.

You can see that impressive sequence below:

This is a critical game for both teams as Florida battles to make up a six-point gap in the Eastern Conference to earn a Wild Card spot. Winnipeg is in possession of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but the Jets only have a one-point edge over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.