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Not enough support for Pavelec

Goalie stands on head as teammates give game away

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Ondrej Pavelec likely wouldn't even consider it. He'll insist he's just doing his job stopping pucks -- many, many pucks -- for the Winnipeg Jets.

But if he were so inclined, he could certainly build a darn good case for abandonment through the first three games of the young NHL season -- and especially so after Sunday night's 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks that left the Jets 2-1-0.

Outshot for the third straight game, the Jets were guilty of too many errors to document in this space -- or this section, for that matter -- but the most obvious was Zach Bogosian's giveaway with just over five minutes left, when he blew a tire behind the Jets' net and had his attempted pass dribble to a wide-open Corey Perry, who buried the game-winner behind Pavelec.

"How we lost at the end... if you're looking at the one mistake, these things sometimes happen," said coach Claude Noel. "But look at the way we played: we didn't deserve to win the game playing that way. We got saved by our goalie and realistically, our goalie has saved us in all three games.

"He's been superb, not average, superb. We've played in spurts and tonight there were very few spurts."



ON a night in which Teemu Selanne possibly made his last on-ice appearance in Winnipeg -- barring a playoff matchup between these teams next spring -- it was the Ducks, winners in OT Saturday night in Minnesota, who had way more jump than a Jets' squad which played Friday night.

The Ducks outshot the Jets 33-17 -- 15-6 in the first period. And, just for the record, the Jets have now been outshot 48-24 in the opening 20 minutes so far this season.

"The team that played a road game less than 24 hours ago that went into overtime came into our building and were clearly the better team and that's unacceptable," said Blake Wheeler. "We've gotten good at talking about what we need to do to take the next step, but I think games like tonight -- and I know it's only October, it's early in the season -- you'd really think that if we don't win we've got to be the better team, and they were the better team tonight."

"Whether they played tonight for Selanne and his last game in here... they were energized," added Noel. "And we weren't as energized."



AMONG the many things the Jets want to fix ASAP is their ineffective work in the face-off circle. The Jets won just 41 per cent of the draws against the Duck and seemed to play a lot of the night without the puck.

"We've got a lot of work to do," said Noel. "There's some areas that concern me. We never started with the puck all night. Our face-offs were atrocious in all zones, even our D-zone, and even our best face-off guy (Jim Slater) had a rough night (three for seven). To me, face-offs are a reflection of your battle level. We weren't good in the battle level in the game. Period.

"Our breakouts were poor. We were prepared for some of the things they did and yet our decision process was poor. Little plays that would help us on the breakouts weren't getting done. We've got a lot of stuff to do, a lot of things to work on and it starts in our own zone. We have to defend better. We can't give up 38 shots and 18-20 scoring chances in a game."



THE Jets missed out on a chance to go 3-0 to start a season for the first time in their history. But there was also a realization afterward that the first two wins masked some flaws in their game.

"I liked the way we played against the L.A, but to take a step back against Anaheim is not the way we want to do it," said captain Andrew Ladd, who had both Jets goals. "We've got to come back on Tuesday and start working on what we didn't do well in this game and move forward." Twitter: @WFPEdTait


Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little (18) celebrate Ladd's goal against the Anaheim Ducks during first-period NHL action at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Sunday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 7, 2013 C1


Updated on Monday, October 7, 2013 at 6:25 AM CDT: Replaces photo, adds slideshow

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