By Bill Whitehead
Peg. It has multiple meanings. In its verb form in cribbage, you’re getting points if you’re pegging. In Married with Children, Peg Bundy was a horrible wife — at least by Al’s standards. The song “Peg” by Steely Dan? I didn’t like it in high school, but I’d appreciate it more now.
For the Florida Panthers (3-5-0), The Peg is Winnipeg, a city in the Manitoban hinterlands of Canada where free agents generally say “no thanks” and bitingly cold weather says “you bet.” It sounds like North America’s version of Siberia: a Chamber of Commerce member’s mind-numbing homework assignment and apparently more of a punishment than a traveler’s reward. But it represents a possibility for two more points for the Panthers.
Here are some noteworthy items as the Panthers and Jets meet for the second time in six days:
Hot and Cold — The Panthers have won two straight after losing five in a row. The team has shown confidence and, more importantly, offense. Adding to the O were Shawn Matthias and George Parros, each scoring his first goal on Super Bowl Sunday. Florida has scored 10 goals in beating Winnipeg’s Ondrej Pavelec and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller in its last two outings. Meanwhile, the Jets (3-4-1) have lost three straight.
Jet Killer — Kris Versteeg has been outstanding against Winnipeg, scoring his first goal of the season last Thursday and first career hat trick at the MTS Centre on Nov. 10, 2011. Versteeg, who has 12 points (8-4-12) versus the Jets dating back to last season, kidded about his mastery, saying, “It looks like I’ll be signing there one day. It’s kind of funny because you don’t really think of it that way, but everyone else keeps bringing it up. I really have no answer for that.”
Good times for Steeger in The Peg:
Power Man 51 — Florida defenseman Brian Campbell has scored all six of his points (4-2-6) on the power play. His four goals tie him with Peter Mueller for the team high, and his goal Sunday against his former Buffalo club was the game winner. Montreal’s Andrei Markov leads all NHL defensemen with eight points.
Hello, Old Friend — Florida will skate against ex-Panther captain Olli Jokinen for the second time as a Jet. Jokinen, the Panthers’ captain from 2003 to 2008, scored a goal last Thursday but also committed a tripping penalty that led to Peter Mueller’s game-tying power-play goal. Jokinen, 34, has two goals, two assists and is a minus-4 this season.
Florida (3-5-0) at Winnipeg (3-4-1)
MTS Centre — Winnipeg, MB
LOCAL TV BROADCAST
Fox Sports Florida, 8 p.m.
Steve Goldstein (PxP), Bill Lindsay (Color)
560 WQAM, 8 p.m.
Randy Moller (PxP)