The Winnipeg Jets had been struggling with third periods lately, so Thursday's five-goal outburst in the 7-0 win over Florida was like finding an oasis in the desert.
The Edmonton Oilers outscored the Jets 4-1 in the third on Monday night en route to a 5-3 win. The Tampa Bay Lightning put three on the board in the final frame on Feb. 23 but ran out of time in a 4-3 loss. On Valentine's Day the New York Islanders scored twice in the third for a 3-1 victory.
So Thursday's explosion was welcomed.
"We didn't know what would take place in the third," head coach Claude Noel said. "You're up 2-0. You want to play on your toes. I don't think you turn around and say we're going to score one or two or three. For me, the step in the third period was "¶ you wanted to see the growth and the maturing that you've established through 66 games. That's what you're looking for. Can we take this next step and close out the game and play it in the right fashion?
"There's no way you would play that type of third period, anticipating that, but we scored early, so that kind of took some heat off the way we were playing."
Winnipeg's five goals in a period on Friday night certainly were rare, especially when you consider they scored more than five goals in just two of their other 65
PIPES PERFECTION: Ondrej Pavelec tied a career high on Thursday night with his fourth shutout of the season.
"He was solid," Noel said. "He really played with poise. A couple days ago people were asking about Pavelec and how he's matured from the beginning of the year and what's changed, and it's exactly the way he played (Thursday night).
"He was poised, he was relaxed, he could see the puck, he battled through, and he was really well composed."
Noel said the schedule, how Pavelec is playing and getting him enough rest will determine how much Winnipeg's No. 1 goalie plays in the team's final 16 games.
"Mason's been a good player for us," Noel said. "The team plays hard for Chris Mason, too, so you can't lose sight of him either."
ACTION ON THE FARM: The St. John's IceCaps made a few moves on Friday in advance of Monday's AHL clear day roster deadline.
First they loaned forward Michael Forney and traded forward Shawn Weller to the Texas Stars for right-winger Raymond Sawada.
Then they loaned goaltender Peter Mannino and forward Kenndal McArdle to the Portland Pirates in exchange for forward and Brandon native, Brock Trotter.
Trotter, 25, had 31 points in 35 games for the Pirates this season after spending last year in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. The former Dauphin King started this season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, with whom he had two goals and five assists in five games.
Sawada, 27, is a former member of the Manitoba Moose who has appeared in 11 NHL games over the last three years. He had six goals and 10 assists in 26 games for the stars this season but has appeared in only one game since Dec. 16 due to injury.