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This article was published 2/11/2014 (2756 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
CHICAGO – The Winnipeg Jets are going to their goaltending bullpen tonight, opting to rest Ondrej Pavelec and give Michael Hutchinson a chance to start against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"Mike’s going," said Jets coach Paul Maurice. "Pav’s played so very well for us and we have to monitor the minutes and the number he plays. Ondrej’s been such a strong performer for us this year and it’s good he gets a rest.
"And, yeah, the backup guy’s job sometimes isn’t a whole lot of fun. He’ll be the most rested guy in our lineup, so he should be good."
This will be Hutchinson’s second start of the season. He started the third game of the year, a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, but was yanked after just 22 minutes after surrendering three goals on 13 shots.
He did come in against Tampa in relief on Oct. 24 and stopped all nine of the shots he faced. But his numbers aren’t great: a 4.50 goals-against average and .864 save percentage.
Asked if the Tampa relief performance was important for Hutchinson’s confidence, Maurice said: "I think so. I might have jumped the gun on him in L.A. I was just frustrated with everything that was going on in the game. I thought we were generating enough offence, but didn’t like some of the goals that were going in. But it was good that he could get back into a game and his last memory is solid play against a pretty skilled offensive team."
Both the Jets and Blackhawks played Saturday night. Winnipeg picked up a 1-0 win in a shootout over the New York Rangers, while the Hawks fell 3-2 in Toronto as Maple Leafs netminder James Reimer stopped 45 shots.
Winnipeg has picked up points in three consecutive games and is 2-0-1 on their current road trip, which wraps up against the Hawks.
"The block of three games we’ve played on the road have been pretty darn solid," said Maurice. "Our best game might have been in New Jersey, in terms of what we generated. That’s how life works out. This is a big night for us. We’re two points behind them in the standings and we had a tough start, so we’ve clawed our way back into feeling a little better about ourselves and this is an opportunity. It’s going to be a hard-fought game."
Corey Crawford is expected to start in goal for the Hawks, who are 6-4-1, two points ahead of the 5-5-1 Jets.