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Recap: Ducks Move Into First with 3-1 Win Over Jets

by Adam Brady @AdamJBrady /

ANAHEIM - With eight games left in the regular season, the Ducks are playing some of their best hockey at just the right time. 

Anaheim's workmanlike 3-1 victory over the visiting Winnipeg Jets at Honda Center was the third in a row and seventh in the last nine for the Ducks. Meanwhile, Anaheim (40-23-11) pulled into a tie for first place with San Jose, who earlier tonight was pounded 6-1 in Dallas for a fifth straight loss. 

"We want to play well going down the stretch, and you want to peak at the right time," said Corey Perry, who had the game's first goal. "Everybody is starting to find their groove."

The Ducks clinged to a one-goal lead for most of the final period before Jakob Silfverberg slammed the door with an empty-net goal with just over a minute left. 

Perry gave Anaheim its first lead with a little less than three minutes left in the first, whipping a shot from the high slot that got past goalie Michael Hutchinson, who was impeded by his own teammate, Adam Lowry. 

Video: WPG@ANA: Perry stays patient, scores through a screen

Winnipeg got even six minutes into the middle session when Blake Wheeler's one-timer was tipped through by Josh Morrissey on the power play. That was the only blemish on goalie Jonathan Bernier's night, who was helped by a stingy Anaheim defense that held the Jets to just 18 shots. 

Video: WPG@ANA: Bernier kicks out left pad to rob Armia

"They had some Grade-A chances despite having 18 shots, but our forecheck was strong tonight," Bernier said. "We spent a lot of time in their zone and definitely deserved that win tonight."

Bernier has been outstanding in place of the injured John Gibson, with an 8-1-1 record, 1.58 goals-against average and .948 save percentage in 10 starts since March 3. "I feel good. It's the momentum," he said. "The more you play, the better you feel. The confidence just builds with every game.

"It's a group thing. In the room, we feel good about ourselves. We feel confident. When we go into the third period and we have the lead, we all know what we need to do, and we do it out there."

Anaheim went in front for good with 3 1/2 minutes left in the period on a lucky bounce, as Andrew Cogliano threw the puck in front from behind the extended goal line and it caromed off defenseman Jacob Trouba and Hutchinson before flipping into the net. 

Video: WPG@ANA: Cogliano tallies off a defenseman in 2nd

Seconds after Hutchinson scampered to the bench for an extra attacker late in regulation and the Jets down one, Silfverberg put the game away by shutting the luck into the empty net from 60 feet away on the right wing. 

Video: WPG@ANA: Silfverberg nets empty-net goal from boards

The Ducks will look for a fourth straight win for the first time this season on Sunday against the New York Rangers at Honda Center. 

"We're climbing in the right direction and finding different ways to win hockey games, which is encouraging," Cam Fowler said. "Tonight was a pretty complete game for the most part besides a few turnovers early in the hockey game. We kept a pretty high-scoring team at bay for most of the night. Good win for us."

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