WINNIPEG — Chris Kreider scored with 3:46 left in the third period to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Kreider beat Jets defencemen Adam Pardy and Dustin Byfuglien near the blue-line and then sent a backhand deke by a sprawling Ondrej Pavelec to break a 2-2 deadlock.

The playoff-bound Rangers (48-21-7) also got goals from Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard.

Jim Slater and Lee Stempniak scored for Winnipeg (39-26-12), which keeps its hold on the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference over idle Los Angeles.

Henrik Lundqvist, in net for his second game since missing 25 with a throat injury, stopped 32 shots. Pavelec made 21 saves in the losing cause.

Good co-ordination earned Slater his fourth goal of the season and second in his past three games.

Slater kicked a loose puck to his stick at the side of the net and beat Lundqvist at 3:16 of the first period to put the Jets ahead 1-0.

Zuccarello tied it 1-1 six and a half minutes later with a close shot off a Rick Nash rebound for his 15th goal of the season.

Winnipeg outshot New York 16-9 in the first period.

Stempniak, acquired in a trade with the Rangers on March 1, capitalized on a slick pass from Mathieu Perreault to restore Winnipeg’s lead.

Perreault was skating along the boards past the face-off circle and suddenly sent a pass back and out to Stempniak, who beat Lundqvist high on the glove side at 1:25 for the 2-1 lead.

The Rangers tied it up again when Brassard benefited from a screened Pavelec to score his 17th goal of the season at 10:13 on the power play.

The teams tied 7-7 in shots on goal in the middle frame.

The Jets welcomed back top centre Bryan Little, who missed 11 games with an upper-body injury. He logged 19:41 of ice time.

Winnipeg host Vancouver on Saturday to end a four-game homestand. The Rangers visit the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Judy Owen, The Canadian Press