BUFFALO — The Winnipeg Jets are going to back to Ondrej Pavelec in goal tonight as they face the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
It’s Winnipeg’s fourth time this season playing games on consecutive days. The team has yet to win on the second day.
Pavelec, 10-13-4, started last Saturday’s home game against Dallas but was pulled after two periods, trailing 5-3.
"I don’t remember that game already," Pavelec said after this morning’s optional skate. About half the team went on the ice. "There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s just the way we played. Now I just focus on the next game."
After their poor week (0-2-1) at home, the Jets went to Columbus on Monday and never trailed in a 3-2 victory to run their record against Eastern Conference teams to 9-3-1. Al Montoya played goal for his fifth win of the season.
This morning, the Jets recalled Eric O’Dell from the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL. They had an open roster spot and might have some health issues for tonight’s game, head coach Claude Noel said.
He wasn’t specific about those issues, or whether O’Dell would play tonight.
The 23-year-old centre has 12 goals and 29 points so far this season for the IceCaps.
Evander Kane, who had a goal and an assists in his return from a six-game injury absence, was on the ice here this morning and seems likely to play tonight, even after taking a hard shot on his skate and later falling into the boards heavily in Monday’s contest.
Noel said he won’t be overdoing it from a tactical standpoint for tonight’s back end of the back-to-back.
"I just do what I feel I have to do, more on instincts," the coach said. "On a back-to-back, you have to make sure you recognize that fatigue plays a factor mentally a little bit, and physically and I don’t think you wan to overload the players. You just have to give them some information at times and not overdo it.
"I think the listening span is a little shorter."
When they are finished with tonight’s game, the 15-15-5 Jets have one stop at home, Friday against Florida, before hitting the road for two more games before Christmas, in Vancouver and Edmonton.
The Sabres, 7-23-3 and last in the overall NHL standings, made some roster moves today to shuffle things around. They have recalled forward Kevin Porter and defenceman Chad Ruhwedel from the AHL’s Rochester Americans and re-assigned three players, defencemen Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb and forward Luke Adam down the highway to Rochester.