Adam Lowry scored the tiebreaking goal with 9:13 to play and the winnipeg jets advanced in the playoff race with a 3-2 victory over the Ducks on Thursday night.
Kyle Connor scored his 28th goal and Connor Hellebuyck made 18 saves for the Jets, who opened a three-game road trip to California with their third win in four games.
After Frank Vatrano tied it for Anaheim early in the third with a power-play goal, Lowry put the Jets back in front with a brief redirection of a Brenden Dillon pass for his third goal in four games.
“That’s our group,” said Connor, who ended his 11-game goal drought in the second period. “We are the resilient type, no matter what we face. We have confidence here in each other that we will pull through and it will make us stronger. Especially going into the playoffs, you know you’re not going to win every game, so you have to deal with those situations when they happen.
“There is no resignation here by everyone.”
Mason Appleton scored the opener for Winnipeg, which has beaten Anaheim in five straight meetings, including a three-game sweep this season.
Winnipeg is in second place as a wild card in the Western Conference with 85 points and nine games to play, one point behind Seattle. Nashville, who beat the Kraken in a shootout on Thursday, trails the Jets by five points, but the Predators have three games left.
“It’s no secret,” Lowry said. “We know where we are and how critical these games are. We can only control our game, but we’re going to try to carry this momentum through to Saturday.”
Cam Fowler also scored and Lukas Dostal stopped 30 shots for the lottery-bound Ducks, who fell to 1-4-1 in their eight-game home stay with their third straight loss.
Fowler scored a career-high 43rd point with a first-period goal on a knuckleball shot that cleared a path between three Anaheim teammates.
“He’s been unbelievable,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said of Fowler. “I hope he is proud of himself for having a career year in a year like this. …he does a lot of things for us, and especially now he’s been on ice for a long time. He is a leader in our locker room. He basically does it all, so we’re all very proud of Cam.”
Appleton equalized it 45 seconds later and Connor then scored late in the second period on remarkably similar plays, knocking down loose pucks after rebounds slipped under Dostal.
Connor is Winnipeg’s leading scorer, but he hadn’t scored a goal in March and hadn’t scored in a season-high six straight games.
“It’s something to build on,” Connor said. “We have nine games left now, and we want to continue to get better, and make the playoffs strong here.”
Vatrano equalized with a low shot from the blue line, while Hellebuyck was blocked by Derek Grant on a rare miss by the Jets’ second-ranked penalty-killers. The goal was Vatrano’s 18th of the season, matching his total in each of the past two seasons with Florida and the Rangers.