Winnipeg Jets take over top spot in NHL with 3-1 win in Anaheim

The Winnipeg Jets are doing a good job of making winning hockey look routine.

A 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks Friday night extended the Jets’ franchise-record point streak to 11 games and put them in first place in the NHL standings for just the second time since relocation.

After the teams played some 4-on-4 hockey early in the period, Winnipeg controlled the better part of the first ten minutes but Anaheim pushed back hard in the latter half of the period.

The Ducks couldn’t convert on a power play chance but they made good on an opportunity in transition to open the scoring.

Frank Vatrano made a play in the neutral zone to find Alex Killorn as he skated up the ice. He took the puck into the Winnipeg zone before finding a streaking Mason McTavish, who cut to the middle and buried a backhand shot through Laurent Brossoit to make it 1-0 Anaheim with 4:19 to go in the first.

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The Jets had an 8-2 edge in shots on goal at one point in the first but after 20 minutes, the Ducks had 13 to Winnipeg’s ten.

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Anaheim held on to their one goal lead until the Jets’ top line went to work and tied the game at the 7:57 mark of the second.

Winnipeg cycled the puck around the Anaheim zone, leading to Mark Scheifele holding it at the point. He made a move to free up space for Nikolaj Ehlers, feeding the Dane the puck as Ehlers skated into the slot and he whipped it past a screened John Gibson to draw even.

Neither side could break the tie heading into the second intermission, with the Jets outshooting the Ducks 10-9 in a period in which zero penalties were called.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to grab the lead for good in the third with an unlikely source coming up with the big goal.

After Anaheim turned the puck over near the Winnipeg blue line, the Jets raced back the other way with Dylan Samberg taking the puck into Anaheim’s end. Nate Schmidt, trailing the play, glided across the blue line, got the puck from Samberg and skated into the slot before wiring a wrister past Gibson for his first goal since Mar. 12, 2023.

With just under nine minutes to go in the period, Winnipeg earned their first power play of the contest and they converted for the second straight night to give themselves some breathing room.

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Vladislav Namestnikov sent a perfect cross-ice pass to Cole Perfetti, who rocketed it past Gibson to make it 3-1 with 6:57 to go.

The Ducks tried to rally, pulling the goalie and getting a power play look but Brossoit closed the door, turning aside 37 shots as Winnipeg picked up yet another win to improve to 25-9-4, with their 54 points topping the NHL standings.

The Jets have now allowed three or fewer goals in 28 consecutive games, the second-longest such streak in the expansion era.

Winnipeg will wrap up their three-game road trip Sunday afternoon in Arizona, looking to extend their win streak to six games. Pregame coverage on 680 CJOB begins at 4 p.m. with the action getting going just after 6 p.m.

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