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 downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.
— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh