In a game the Winnipeg Jets absolutely needed to win, they got the job done, edging the Ducks 3-2 in Anaheim Thursday night.
A recurrence of a recent troubling trend appeared in the first period when the Jets allowed the first goal of the game. Cam Fowler sent a seeing-eye shot on goal and it beat Connor Hellebuyck through a screen at the 11:41 mark of the opening frame.
But the Jets had the answer 45 seconds later. Mason Appleton crashed the net on an odd-man rush and banged home a rebound to tie the game.
Winnipeg held a 16-6 edge in shots on goal through one, but the game remained tied deep into the second period before a slumping Jets sniper got off the monkey off his back.
Pierre-Luc Dubois carried the puck into the Anaheim end on a 2-on-1 and fired a shot that was stopped by Lukas Dostal but it trickled through the goalie and sat near the goal line. Kyle Connor then arrived on the scene to tap it home at the 13:45 mark for his first goal in 12 games.
The Jets carried that lead into the third but the Ducks drew even on the power play early in the third.
With Kyle Capobianco in the penalty box for slashing, Frank Vatrano fired a shot on goal from the point that eluded a screened Hellebuyck to tie the game with 14:20 remaining.
In dire need of two points, the Jets pushed for the go-ahead goal, and the third line got it done just past the midway point of the period.
After a long shift in the Ducks end, Adam Lowry parked himself in front of the goal and redirected a perfect slap-pass from Brenden Dillon into the net to restore the Jets’ lead at the 10:47 mark.
Winnipeg earned a second power play of the night later in the period but failed to score for the 21st consecutive time with the man advantage.
Anaheim pulled Dostal for the extra attacker with over two minutes left and Winnipeg just about sealed the deal into the empty net but Vladislav Namestnikov hit the post with under a minute to go.
The Ducks couldn’t make the Jets pay for the mistake as the final horn sounded on a 3-2 Jets win.
Hellebuyck only had to make 18 saves for the win while Dostal made 30 saves in defeat.
The Jets will face a tougher test Saturday afternoon when they visit the LA Kings. Pregame coverage on 680 CJOB begins at 1 p.m. with game action starting just after 3 p.m.