Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pavs back between pipes

No. 1 goalie will try to recover form against Bruins

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BOSTON -- Jets Nation seemed consumed with Ondrej Pavelec's state of mind -- not to mention his goaltending -- in the last week.

Pavelec? Not so much.

The team's No. 1 goalie indicated Friday the last week is nothing to cause panic and he also wasn't afraid to offer a grin and a nod to indicate he'll return to the net today at TD Banknorth Garden when the Jets play the Boston Bruins at noon.

"I don't care who's worried about it," Pavelec told the Free Press on Friday in Ottawa, where the Jets practised before heading to Boston. "I don't pay attention to that. I don't really care. I just worry about myself and just focus for what I've got to do and how I'll get ready for the game. That's all."

The last time Pavelec occupied the Winnipeg crease was Dec. 27 in Winnipeg, when he gave up three goals on six shots in about seven minutes against the Minnesota Wild.

Yanked by coach Claude Noel, Pavelec stomped down the hallway to the team's locker-room and was caught by TV cameras hurling his gloves and smashing his stick in fury.

The following morning, the 11-16-4 goalie (3.03 goals-against average, .902 save percentage this season) was never more glum.

"I think, of course, I was upset," Pavelec said. "I was disappointed. I told you guys that I tried to calm down, tried to stay positive all the time. Sometimes enough is enough and that's what happened that night. It was just the night when it sometimes happens. It's happened to me a few times.

"Of course I was disappointed, but we won. It's all I could do. Now I move on. Put it behind me. I don't think it was a big deal."

Pavelec has certainly put in the work while Al Montoya has had three straight starts since relieving him eight days ago.

Even Friday, the Czech netminder was one of the last Jets off the ice at Canadian Tire Centre.

"I don't think there's anything good to getting pulled," he said. "I wasn't able to play, but I had a good practice (week) to try to get myself back and ready for the next call. It's all you can do, just worry about yourself and get ready for the next one. We'll see tomorrow.

"It's not like I wasn't going to be playing for two months. It's just a few days and everybody's surprised. We've played three games and now I'm going to get ready for tomorrow."

Noel, who's been trying to play down his No. 1 goalie's struggles, wasn't interested in exploring the topic again Friday.

He wouldn't even confirm his choice of goalies for today's game in Boston, or Sunday's matinee in Pittsburgh.

"It will be a game-time decision," Noel said. "It's a secret. You guys have to try like you normally do, be the CIA, put your hat on and try to figure it out."

Told Pavelec had said he's the choice for Boston, Noel put on a playful smirk.

"That's good for Pavs," Noel nodded. "Then maybe I should go to the goalies and have them tell me when they're ready."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 4, 2014 C3

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