Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pavelec gets hurt in first, stays out

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WINNIPEG Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was injured near the end of the first period of his team's 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers Friday night at the MTS Centre and will be evaluated this morning, Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Friday night.

"It was a play at the net right at the end of the period," Maurice said. "He'll get assessed in the morning -- I don't have anything yet."

Maurice said he didn't know yet if the Jets would need to call a backup from the club's AHL affiliate in St. John's. The Jets play next Sunday at home against the Dallas Stars, then again Monday night in St. Louis against the Blues.

"I will make that assessment (today)," Maurice replied.

Maurice left open all possibilities when he was asked if he could elaborate on the goaltender's injury.

"No, I won't tell you until tomorrow," he said. "And then I'll tell you what it is -- if he's not playing. And if he is, I'll tell you he's fine."

Pavelec gave up two goals on eight shots in the first period. New York's first goal came on a point shot that was deflected twice en route to the net. The Rangers' second goal saw Pavelec beaten short-side from a sharp angle by New York's Chris Kreider.

Pavelec finished the first period and did not appear in obvious distress as he left the ice, but he did not come out after the first-period intermission or for the balance of the evening.

Jets backup goaltender Al Montoya mopped up for the final two periods, giving up two goals on 15 shots. Montoya declined interview requests Friday night through the Jets' communications staff.

Maurice insisted Pavelec's injury and sudden departure from the game did not unsettle his team, but Jets centre Bryan Little said it did catch the players by surprise.

"Yeah, no one really knew until we saw the trainers bringing in his gear and hanging it up," said Little. "I thought Monty did a good job coming in cold like that and made some big saves. We could have done a little better job bailing him out a couple times, but it's tough to carry on mentally when you (lose) your starting goalie like that in the middle of a game."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2014 C3

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