Mark Scheifele scored an early goal and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves as the visiting Winnipeg Jets earned a 3-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday to give themselves some breathing room atop the Central Division.
Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers added a third-period goals for the Jets (44-25-4, 92 points), who are now three points ahead of the Nashville Predators in the division thanks to their four-game winning streak. The Predators are on a three-game win streak.
It was the seventh victory in the last 10 games for the Jets, whose magic number for clinching a playoff spot was reduced to five.
As has been their tendency of late, the Jets clamped down in the third period to finish off the victory. Winnipeg has not allowed a third-period goal in its last three games.
On the early power play, Scheifele scored his 35th goal 15:56 into the game after a fortuitous rebound. Jacob Trouba took a shot from the deep slot, it went past the Ducks' goal, rebounded off the boards back out front and Connor sent a touch pass to Scheifele for the goal.
After a scoreless second period that included a pair of scuffles involving the Ducks' Corey Perry, the Jets started quickly in the closing period.
Connor scored at 4:25 of the third period when Tyler Myers sent the puck in front of the Ducks' goal from the point. Connor redirected the puck past Ducks goaltender John Gibson for his 29th of the season.
Less than three minutes later, Ehlers made it 3-0 with his 19th of the season. From a sharp angle near the corner, Ehlers fired a shot off Gibson's side and into the goal.
Despite entering as the next-to-worst team in the Western Conference, the Ducks had been better of late, winning six of their previous nine games. It was the first time the Ducks were shut out since March 1, but they had a number of prime scoring chances only to be turned away by Hellebuyck.
The shutout was the first of the season for Hellebuyck in 55 starts and the 13th of his NHL career.
The Jets held off the Ducks despite playing without defensemen Nathan Beaulieu, Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey. Joe Morrow did return Wednesday for his first game since Feb. 14 after a lower-body injury.
--Field Level Media