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 ...