The Anaheim Ducks haven't necessarily taken full advantage of weaker opponents as they chase a Pacific Division title, but they haven't had to worry much about letdowns against their next.
The Ducks conclude a four-game homestand Tuesday night and try for a seventh straight win over the Winnipeg Jets – their final opponent before Thursday's visit to fellow division hopeful Los Angeles.
Anaheim was plenty happy with Sunday's 3-1 win over Western Conference-leading Dallas, but over a 4-2-1 span, the losses have come to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
"We played exactly how we needed to play against a team like that," Andrew Cogliano told the team's official website. "Defensively, we played strong. We didn't give them too many chances. We played a patient game and capitalized on our chances.
"I thought it was one of the better games we've played in a while. That's a good team, so it should be a big confidence boost for us, and get us back on track."
Ryan Kesler scored twice and has three goals and three assists in his last three games, while Nate Thompson got his third goal of the season. They've all come in the last three games, setting a career-best scoring streak.
"With my role I have to do all the little things first. If I do get goals it's a bonus," Thompson said. "Hopefully I don't use them all up before the playoffs."
For coach Bruce Boudreau, it wasn't any one individual effort. His team was 4 for 4 on the penalty kill and is 15 for 16 over the last five games. They also scored twice short-handed.
"It was really our best game in a month and I thought we were a pretty determined group," Boudreau said. "We'd like to be able to continue to play at this level for the next four games, but for sure we know we can do it when we put our mind to it."
The Ducks are seeking a three-game sweep of the Jets and have won the last six meetings with 4.00 goals per game. Kesler has two goals and an assist thus far in the season series.
They met March 20 for a 3-2 overtime final in Winnipeg, but the Jets have since turned it on offensively. After Sunday's 5-1 home win over Minnesota, they've scored nine goals in two games.
Mark Scheifele scored and has four goals and six assists on a seven-game point streak. It was his team-best 27th, and 29 of his 56 points have come in the last 23 games. Blake Wheeler scored his third goal in the last two games and has 11 points on an eight-game streak.
Despite a return trip to the postseason being out of the question, coach Paul Maurice sees his team playing the season out admirably.
"The veterans have driven (us)," Maurice said. "Wheeler and (Dustin) Byfuglien are playing as hard and as well as they have all year. Dustin didn't get a point tonight but he was plus-3. There's some accountability and pride for the other players when they see those guys competing and not being casual about the game."
They'll likely face John Gibson with Frederik Andersen out due to a concussion. Gibson has a 1.33 goals-against average and .951 save percentage over a 3-1-0 span and is 2-0-0 with 1.45 and .939 marks against the Jets.
Ondrej Pavelec has gone five games without a regulation loss, going 3-0-2 with a 1.96 GAA and .933 save percentage. He's allowed at least four goals in his last three games against the Ducks and lost in overtime or a shootout in each.