Pavelec’s play getting raves

Another solid night in net kept Jets in the game against Devils

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NEWARK, N.J. -- Fitting, that on the eve of Halloween two men in goalie masks were the stars at the Prudential Center.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/10/2014 (3020 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

NEWARK, N.J. — Fitting, that on the eve of Halloween two men in goalie masks were the stars at the Prudential Center.

But what had the Winnipeg Jets stewing after Thursday night’s 2-1 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils wasn’t just the lost point from a game they led until three minutes were left, or the work of Cory Schneider in the Jersey net, but that it spoiled a solid effort from goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.

“It was tough. I thought Pav played really well and we didn’t play well enough to win in front of him,” said Jacob Trouba.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) scores on New Jersey Devils' goaltender Cory Schneider (35) during first period NHL hockey action at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Thursday.

“It was a lead you want to keep going into the third period, but we made too many mistakes and Pav bailed us out. One too many and it ended up in the back of the net.

“Pav played great, there’s no doubt about that. We had our chances to score and he took away a lot of their chances to score. It’s definitely a tough one.”

Pavelec made two critical saves late in the game just to allow the Jets to get one point, robbing Jaromir Jagr with 7.3 seconds left and then doing the same in OT against his fellow countryman and future Hall of Famer.

In the last three games, over which the Jets have gone 2-0-1, Pavelec has stopped 67 of 72 shots for a .931 save percentage. But the biggest stat for Pavelec is always the W. And 3-0 — with a shutout to boot — would have been a whole lot tastier than 2-0-1.

“We lost the point,” said Pavelec. “We should be able to close it up with a few minutes left. We should find a way to win. But, at the same time, if we score one goal on the road and we get a point… that’s pretty good, too.

“We take the point and move on.”

The Jets, who were 15th in the NHL last year in goals for per game — 2.67 — are struggling to open 2014-15. Winnipeg has 20 goals in 10 games.

“He’s been good for us and we haven’t given him a tremendous amount of goal support, where he could relax in a game,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said of Pavelec. “So, every shot is critical and he’s been good.”

SHUFFLE: The Jets made a couple of roster moves official on Thursday, activating Evander Kane from injured reserve and placing Anthony Peluso on the same list, retroactive to Oct. 22.

KNOCK, KNOCK: Devils coach Peter DeBoer was praising the work of Brandon-born Damon Severson before puck drop. Severson, 20, played last year for the Kelowna Rockets but forced himself into the conversation during training camp.

‘Pav played great, there’s no doubt about that. We had our chances to score and he took away a lot of their chances to score. It’s definitely a tough one’

–Winnipeg defenceman Jacob Trouba

And it’s continued into the regular season: Severson, a defenceman, already has four goals and three assists through 10 games.

“What hasn’t he done?” said DeBoer. “We weren’t anticipating giving him a job and it’s a great lesson for all young guys who come to camp. There’s a door there and you don’t knock and politely ask to come in, you bust the door the down and don’t give the choices any choice but to play you. That’s exactly what he’s done.”

SHORT, BUT SWEET: DeBoer when asked about his short conversation with Jets coach Paul Maurice on Wednesday — the two are old friends, but spoke only for a few minutes the night before the game:

“He was game-facing me yesterday,” said DeBoer with a grin. “We’re both in the heat of the battle here. It’s tough. Points are critical already. We were both talking and it feels like playoff hockey already.

“I get it. I’ve been around him long enough to know when to give him some room.”

Added Maurice: “My wife tells me I always have it on. I’m not sure how you tell the difference.”

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

History

Updated on Friday, October 31, 2014 7:05 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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