Stempniak, who spent 18 games with the Jets last season after being acquired at the trade deadline, scored twice as his New Jersey Devils downed Winnipeg 3-1 on Saturday night.
"It's fun to be back. I enjoyed playing here," Stempniak said. "(I'm) friends with a lot of the guys. Nothing but good memories and great things to say about the organization."
Winnipeg chose to move on from Stempniak in the offseason, even after announcing his willingness to sign. The 11-year veteran now has 14 goals and 36 points in 49 games with New Jersey.
Stempniak scored in the first and third periods, and Jacob Josefson added the other goal for the Devils in the second.
Winnipeg's lone goal came late on the power play in the third by Dustin Byfuglien, his 12th of the season.
"The past few games, I don't think the puck has been our friend," Byfuglien said. "You just have to put your head down and keep working. Every team goes through it throughout the season."
Corey Schneider made 22 saves and improved to 22-14-5 on the season, while Connor Hellebuyck made 13 saves for Winnipeg.
"It was a good team effort from us," Stempniak said. "It was a huge game, trying to separate ourselves from teams right around us clustered for a playoff spot. It was a great team effort. We got big blocked shots from guys, good backchecks and great goaltending."
New Jersey turned a slow start into a 1-0 lead just past the midway point of the first period. Several errors, capped by Toby Enstrom falling and taking out Blake Wheeler in the process, led to a 2-on-0 break for the Devils. Mike Cammalleri, the immediate beneficiary of the gaffe, slid a pass to Stempniak, who needed just a tap to put the puck past Hellebuyck at 11:41.
The Jets dominated the opening 15 minutes of the second period, putting eight shots on Schneider while not allowing a shot on Hellebuyck.
"I think, ideally, we'd like to get more (shot) volume to the net," Schneider said. "Obviously, the more volume you get to the net, the more chances you have of the puck going in. But you play to score sometimes. You get fewer shots when you're defending your lead. If we were behind, I'm sure we would have had 25 to 30 shots. I think a bit of it is circumstantial."
Stempniak added his second of the game on a redirected shot from Cammalleri in the third.
Winnipeg got on the scoreboard late as Byfuglien poked in a rebound that trickled in behind Schneider at 14:51.
"The morale is going to be low and it should be after you lose three games," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "Confidence is earned. The only other opportunity to change your fortunes is work a lot harder."
Winnipeg continues a six-game homestand against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. ... New Jersey caps a two-game road trip with a meeting in Pittsburgh against the Penguins.