Wheeler gets winner as Jets rally to stun Ducks in OT, 2-1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) With a late equalizer and an even later game-winning goal, the Winnipeg Jets reminded the playoff-bound Anaheim Ducks they should never get comfortable at this time in the NHL season.
Marko Dano scored the tying goal with 3:46 to play, and Blake Wheeler got the winner with 1:53 left in overtime in the Jets' 2-1 victory over the Ducks on Tuesday night.
Michael Hutchinson stopped 27 shots in his first victory since March 14 for the last-place Jets, who won their second straight with a late rally to stun the Pacific Division leaders. Winnipeg was swept in the first round of last season's playoffs by the Ducks, and the Jets are staying home this spring - but they started their final road trip with a memorable win.
''We flipped the script on them this year,'' Wheeler said. ''They were able to steal a few from us last year, and it's a good feeling to win in this building. These guys are primed for probably a deep playoff run, and we understood that coming in, so we wanted to give them all they could handle. To get the win is a bonus.''
John Gibson got a piece of Wheeler's shot in overtime, but the puck looped over the goalie's head and got across the line before Andrew Cogliano could pull it back.
''Having a lead late in the game like that, you'd like to close those out,'' Getzlaf said. ''We had a couple of looks, and we didn't execute very well.''
Ryan Getzlaf could have ended it moments before Wheeler's winner, but Hutchinson got his pad on the Ducks captain's low shot.
''(When) players with gifted hands like that go five-hole, your heart stops,'' Hutchinson said.
Gibson made 24 saves and Corey Perry scored a power-play goal in the first period for the Ducks, who fell into a first-place tie with the Los Angeles Kings atop the Pacific Division. Both teams have 99 points heading into their Freeway Faceoff showdown at Staples Center on Thursday.
The Ducks also have a game in hand on the Kings, who snatched a 5-4 overtime victory in Calgary earlier in the night.
''We never should have got to overtime,'' Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler said. ''I don't think we challenged their goaltender as much as we would have liked. Our power play stumbled along. You have to credit them, too. By no means did it look like a team that had nothing to play for.''
Winnipeg avoided a three-game season sweep at the hands of the Ducks, who blew the chance for their 26th win at Honda Center.
The Ducks' NHL-best power play converted its first opportunity in the opening period. Perry tapped in his 33rd goal after Getzlaf's shot rattled off the post.
Anaheim appeared to be rolling toward victory before Dano abruptly ended Gibson's bid for the fifth shutout of his rookie season, artfully deflecting home Jacob Trouba's shot from the blue line for his fifth goal. Fowler took the blame for not marking Dano in front after Anaheim's Ryan Kesler lost a defensive-zone faceoff to Alexander Burmistrov.
''When the best faceoff player in the league loses a draw and we don't cover the guy in front of the net, bad things happen,'' Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Forward Brandon Tanev made his NHL debut for the Jets, who signed him as a free agent March 30. The 24-year-old Providence College product and younger brother of Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev scored the winning goal in the 2015 NCAA championship game for the Friars.
NOTES: The team handed out duck calls to the crowd on Fan Appreciation Night, but the collective buzz sounded much more like bees than quacks. ... Tanev is the 11th rookie to play for Winnipeg this season. Eight Jets have made their NHL debuts this year. ... Anton Khudobin continued to back up Gibson in place of Frederik Andersen, who is out with a concussion. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau hopes Andersen will play in a game this weekend to assess his availability for the playoffs. ... Anaheim played without injured forwards Rickard Rakell, Brandon Pirri and David Perron and defenseman Kevin Bieksa.