Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pavelec's once-super stats take a tumble

Red Wings' wheeling-dealing has him reeling

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DETROIT -- All those great numbers in winning his last three starts, allowing just three goals, and going 6-2-1 in the last nine as the Winnipeg Jets' rock in goal?

They still count but it'll be back to the drawing board on stats improvement for Ondrej Pavelec.

Pavelec's chart took a big hit on Saturday, giving up all seven goals on just 26 shots as the Detroit Red Wings crushed the Jets 7-1 at Joe Louis Arena.

It didn't stop Pavelec from answering questions, even after he was given the mercy hook by Jets coach Claude Noel at 1:12 of the third period.

Chris Mason came in and mopped up the garbage time, stopping three shots over the final 18-plus minutes.

"We played against a great hockey team," Pavelec said after his record dropped to 10-10-4 on the season. "They don't need a lot of scoring chances to score a goal. They were all over the place. And in our zone, they did whatever they wanted.

"We looked tired. We played a tough game last night and we got here at 4 o'clock. It's not an excuse, but it's fact. We have to forget about this and look forward. We have a lot of games coming and we've got to be ready for the next one."

That'll be Tuesday night against Minnesota.

Noel said he left Pavelec in for all of Detroit's four-goal second period because he still had some faith in his No. 1 goalie.

"I thought Pavs battled to try to get things going," Noel said. "They had some great shots from key areas. We didn't help him a lot. I didn't want to leave him in there and watch this go. I just wanted to have him be part of it, but at the start of the third period, I thought, 'He's done enough, he's tried to keep this thing above ground and there's no sense in continuing down that road.' "

It could be argued that Pavelec was very suspect on Detroit's second goal, one that put the home team ahead to stay late in the first period.

To that point, the Jets weren't being rag-dolled and it was still 1-1, but when the fourth line chipped the puck to the neutral zone and got off quickly after being denied a change on a previous icing call, they all went at once and that left the Wings a big hole on the far side of the ice, one which Henrik Zetterberg exploited.

Zetterberg's shot went right under Pavelec's left pad, not a great spot, but as captain Andrew Ladd said, the entire play was something of a disaster and, "To give Zetterberg a slapshot, a one-timer, from the top of the circle, that's a pretty dangerous thing."

Pavelec also said that Detroit's second period was too much for the visitors, including a pair of goals that saw skaters come directly off the bench and undetected to the slot to score.

"The point is, (on the first one) they had a two-on-one, and (Pavel) Datsyuk missed the net," Pavelec said. "And three seconds later, they had another one. They move very well in the offensive zone. That's a pretty good team to handle. We didn't deserve to win. They were way better the whole game.

"Now we're going home and we have to be ready for the next one."

Being ready Tuesday, Pavelec said, is a must.

"Every day it's about the win," he said. "Sometimes those things happen. We've got to be way better next time to win the hockey game and like I said, they're a good team and when you make mistakes against a team like that, they're going to take advantage."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 11, 2011 B2

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