WINNIPEG — Ondrej Pavelec is a no-go for Monday’s next biggest-game-of-the-year for the Winnipeg Jets.
Their No. 1 goalie was on the ice again today at the MTS Iceplex before the team left for Dallas but won’t be a participant in the opener to the five-game road trip.
Pavelec’s absence began as just a two-game pause to recover from a lower-body injury suffered in a game March 14, but will now be extended to five games with no certainty to its end.
"Inching forward," was what Jets coach Paul Maurice said this morning. "He’s not playing tomorrow."
Also uncertain for Monday is defenceman Zach Bogosian, who couldn’t complete Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Carolina. He missed last Wednesday’s game against Colorado because of the same upper-body injury.
"He’s better than he was yesterday and we’ll see tomorrow," Maurice said. "It’s one of those deals. It’s just one of those injuries on feel. We’ll see how he feels."
The Jets were without as many as eight regulars last Wednesday (Pavelec, Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien (lower body), Jim Slater (lower), James Wright (lower), Mark Scheifele (knee), Chris Thorburn (ankle) and Grant Clitsome (back). Wright, Scheifele, Thorburn and Clitsome are gone long-term.
Slater and Byfuglien also returned Saturday and Slater had his first goal of the season.
"We’ve got question marks," the coach said. "We’ll see when they get off the plane how they feel and how they get through the morning skate."
Today, just nine skaters plus Pavelec and goalie Michael Hutchinson were on the ice before the team left for Dallas.
The coach said he chose to have the rest of the team stay off and recharge batteries and try to get past Saturday’s defeat, which contained more than enough opportunities for victory.
"Sometimes you’ve just got to suffer through the day and focus on tomorrow," Maurice said. "That’s a big part of staying in the fight and surviving the challenges. No different than Phoenix is trying to do in their building today."
The Coyotes blew a lead and lost Saturday at home to Boston. The Jets couldn’t gain ground, though, staying six points back of the eighth-place Coyotes with just 10 games to play.