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Montoya might have earned himself another start in net

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Winnipeg Jets backup goalie Al Montoya has better numbers than starter Ondrej Pavelec. Montoya, who grew up in Chicago, might start against the Blackhawks tonight.

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Winnipeg Jets backup goalie Al Montoya has better numbers than starter Ondrej Pavelec. Montoya, who grew up in Chicago, might start against the Blackhawks tonight.

IT is verboten, it seems, for any National Hockey League coach to give away any 'secrets' whatsoever for fear that information may come back to bite him and his team on the backside.

But if Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel was ever going to give Al Montoya consecutive starts, tonight in Chicago screams out for it. Montoya was solid in Monday's 4-2 victory over Detroit, has better numbers than Ondrej Pavelec -- a .939 save percentage and 1.69 goals-against average -- and just so happens to hail from the Windy City.

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"It's a coach's decision," said Montoya Tuesday when asked if he hoped to start against the Blackhawks. "I mean, obviously I grew up in Chicago, grew up just outside the city... ton of family, friends there. It will be enjoyable either way to get back there.

"Just like everybody else I want to be consistent and bring my best effort every single night. (Monday) night is over with, we want to build off what we did and bring it next time."

LITTLE BIG MAN: Bryan Little scored once against Detroit, giving him eight goals this season -- one more than his totals all of last year -- and leads the Jets in scoring with 13 points in 16 games. He drew some high praise on Tuesday from Noel.

"He's one of our more consistent players, whether he scores or doesn't," Noel said. "What he's done consistently well this season is he's been able to finish and has really scored with regularity. But his game really hasn't changed much. He gives you the same every night.

"He's a bankable player. No maintenance. We have a few of those guys where you know what you're going to get, they're very reliable and their teammates can rely on them."

MORE HELP: The Jets got two goals -- including the winner -- and five points from their quote/unquote third line of Mark Scheifele centring Michael Frolik and Matt Halischuk, and it could be said the trio is emerging as a solid two-way unit.

"(Scheifele's) line has been real good for us, they've had a couple of good back-to-back games," said Noel. "You can see that they've formulated some chemistry in their game and it shows on the ice and they got rewarded for that with some offensive play.

"The consistency they're showing, they just need to continue to bring that to the table. If they're able to do that, that also helps us."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 6, 2013 0

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