It’s a role that carries minimal significance in the grand scheme of things, but since the Winnipeg Jets have been reduced to being a spoiler, they have chosen to embrace the situation as they close out the regular season.

In their first game since officially being eliminated from the playoffs, the Jets got a concerted effort throughout their entire lineup and found a way to earn a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game that could prove to be costly to the Leafs' chase for an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

“It’s a lousy job, you don’t want to ever play spoiler,” said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. “But that’s where we were and we gave our best effort.”

It may be a lousy job but somebody has to do it.

“That’s kind of our role here down the stretch,” said Jets winger Blake Wheeler, who had a pair of assists to give him a career-high 67 points in 79 games this season. “It isn’t the most fun thing. We had visions of having a lot more to play right now, but if that’s our role now, we’re going to play every game hard.

“We’re going to stay on it and play these teams tough. If that turns into wins and we ruin some teams’ chances, then I guess that is good.”

The situation didn’t look good for the Jets early, as Phil Kessel converted a two-on-one rush just 2:45 into the contest before Bryan Little responded at 6:22.

The Maple Leafs took a 2-1 lead at 13:45 of the first period after Ondrej Pavelec misplayed the puck behind the goal, allowing Nazem Kadri to fire it into the open net for a power-play marker.

It would have been easy for the Jets to roll over at that point of the procedings, yet they somehow found a way to block out the miscue and take over the contest.

“You have no choice,” said Pavelec, who has been under fire for his uneven play since returning from a lower-body injury that cost him six games. “We started that PK really well and it was a bad bounce. I was thinking too much ahead about where I was going to put the puck. It was a terrible goal. But you have no choice but to bounce back. It wasn’t easy.