ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Adam Oates stepped up and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim moved forward.
Oates had a goal and an assist and went over 1,400 career points in his career as Anaheim moved into sixth place in the Western Conference with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
Steve Thomas and Petr Sykora also scored and Martin Gerber made 41 saves for the Mighty Ducks, who are playing their best hockey as the season winds down. Anaheim improved to 9-2-1-1 in its last 13 games and has 92 points, one more than seventh-place Minnesota, with three games remaining.
If the season ended Sunday, Vancouver would play the Mighty Ducks in the first round.
"We're going to be ecstatic with the opportunity we get, whoever that is," Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. "It's so close at the top and so close at the bottom, how do you figure it out? We'll be prepared for whoever we play."
The Canucks, playing for the fourth time in six nights, could have moved into a tie for first place with Dallas atop the West with a victory, but instead stayed in third, one point behind Dallas.
"We played a pretty good game for a third game in four nights," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. "The team we were playing was fully rested. We probably deserved another fate, but it didn't go our way. Sometimes you just have to move on."
Vancouver looked tired early as Anaheim, which had not played since Monday, was aggressive and jumped to a 2-0 lead after one period.
The 40-year-old Oates collected his 1,400th point with a goal with 1:49 left in the first when he took a pass from Paul Kariya just inside the blue line, skated between two defenders and beat Cloutier with a wrist shot over his shoulder.
"Oates made a shot he hasn't made in a few years," Crawford said. "He made a great shot."
Markus Naslund of Vancouver scored his NHL-leading 47th on a power play in the second period. Naslund connected after taking a behind-the-net pass from Todd Bertuzzi, who has 46 goals.
"We got great goaltending and got off to a good start, but I thought we were a bit too respectful in the second period," Babcock said. "We turned the puck over too much and gave them too much momentum."
The Mighty Ducks, who officially clinched a playoff berth last week, added an insurance goal 41 seconds into the third. A centering pass from Kariya deflected off Oates' skate down low and went to Sykora, who beat Cloutier from just outside the crease.
Kariya and Ozolinsh each had two assists for Canucks, who tried not to look too deeply into a regular season game.
"They just played last night," Anaheim center Steve Rucchin said. "It's a big win for us and it shows we can challenge some of the upper-echelon teams. But it will be a different situation for them come playoff time."
The Canucks lost for just the third time in 10 games (6-3-1).
Vancouver's Trent Klatt batted the puck past Gerber late in the second period, but the goal was waved off due to high sticking. It was a frustrating night for Klatt, who missed on another open shot in the second period and was hounded all night by Ducks defenseman Lance Ward.
"That guy was a can opener," said Klatt. "I tried to cross over and he's got a stick between my legs."
Kariya had a slap shot bang off the post in the final seconds of the second period.
Although the Anaheim Angels played their season opener down the road at Edison Field, the game attracted a crowd of 17,174, the Ducks' sixth sellout of the season.