Panthers Vs. Jets: Kris Versteeg's First Hat Trick Grounds Jets In Panthers' 5-2 Victory

Thanks to Kris Versteeg's first career hat trick, the Florida Panthers now lead the Southeast Division after a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

The Hockey News describes Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg as a "quality scoring forward with versatility." Yet, in four NHL seasons, Versteeg only has 70 goals entering Thursday's game with the Winnipeg Jets. Versteeg made his first real case for being that quality scoring forward when his first career hat trick led the Panthers to a 5-2 win over the Jets.

Versteeg has bounced around considerably since being a part of the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup team in 2010. After that season, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but didn't last the entire season there before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in February 2011. On the first day of free agency, Versteeg was one of what seemed like dozens of free agents to sign with the Panthers.

Florida jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Versteeg's two rebound goals and sealed the victory with an empty net goal. Versteeg now has eight goals and nine assists this season, which leads the Panthers. Last season, Versteeg didn't score his eighth goal until December 4. He's only played in 15 games, but is only 15 goals away from setting a new career-high in scoring.

Led by Versteeg, the Panthers now lead the Southeast Division by one point over the Washington Capitals. When was the last time that sentence was ever written?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.