Ondrej Pavelec stopped 24 shots, including a huge glove save on Thomas Vanek with 5:45 left to preserve the victory. Winnipeg (24-19-3) improved 6-0-1 in its past seven and moved within a point of the idle New York Rangers, who hold the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot in the final week of the season.
Just as important, the Jets also crept to within a point of Southeast Division-leading Washington. That sets up a critical showdown on Tuesday, when Winnipeg travels to play the Capitals.
Aaron Gagnon also scored for Winnipeg, while Vanek scored the lone goal for Buffalo.
I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.
— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie