Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/3/2015 (2379 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Ondrej Pavelec could get used to this. He knows better than to take it for granted, but when Winnipeg Jets faithful are chanting ‘Pav-vy! Pav-vy!’ during a game — as has been the case over the last two contests — even the thick-skinned Czech understands he’s allowed to live in the moment, even if it’s just for a little while.
After all, he’s seen it turn the other way just as quickly during his days in Jets colours.
Pavelec was outstanding again in Saturday night’s 3-0 blanking of the explosive Washington Capitals, picking up his 17th win of the season and his second shutout of the year. This from a guy who was stapled to the bench for three weeks while Michael Hutchinson yanked the starting goaltender chores away from him before coming out of the bullpen in relief in St. Louis... only to see a late rally snuffed out when he whiffed on a Barret Jackman bomb from outside of the blueline with 63 seconds remaining.
Of course I feel good, but tomorrow is another day and we have to stay focused and be ready.
Clearly now, that is in the rear-view mirror for everyone, Pavelec included.
"It feels good. Again, two points," began Pavelec with a shrug afterward. "We win 3-0... what do you want me to say? Of course I feel good, but tomorrow is another day and we have to stay focused and be ready."
Pavelec, as always, was quick to credit the defensive corps in front of him and the work of forwards in their own zone. The defensive game was especially effective in limiting the dangerous Alex Ovechkin to just two shots on goal, blocking six others.
"You have to make the saves," said Pavelec. "I think we played really well defensively the whole game. They had a few chances in the game, but you have to play 60 minutes no matter what and I was happy I was able to stop those pucks because you never know what’s going to happen.
"We didn’t give them space, Ovechkin and those guys can hurt you. We stayed with them, we didn’t give them space, we back-checked really well and that’s the result."
The Jets got some puck luck as the Caps clanged a couple off posts, while Adam Pardy made a big play with Jason Chimera in close, clearing away another chance.
"(Pardy) saved a goal," said Pavelec. "I was kind of laughing afterward, he was laughing, too. We’ve got the luck now. They hit two posts, sometimes those go in and today they went out. You need that luck, but I think we deserved to win."
Pavelec earned a standing ovation with less than six minutes left, stopping Brooks Laich on a deflection and Mike Green with a glove save in the span of 27 seconds. Asked afterward what his favourite save was in that sequence, he grinned and added:
"All of them. Probably the one that hit my stick. That would have gone in for sure. That (Green save) it hit my glove, I didn’t have to do anything. I liked all of them."
And back to the crowd chanting his name....
Pavelec back-stopping the Jets in this latest run and getting love from the fans has an improbable feel to it, given so many wanted to kick him to the curb with Hutchinson’s rise. And what was going through his mind when he heard those chants?
"Of course it’s nice," he said. "I would lie if I said it’s not. But I’ve been here for four years, I know how things go. I stay in the middle, don’t get too high. This is what I’m trying to do. It’s nice, but tomorrow or the next game could be a different story. I know how things work here. It’s nice to hear that and the fans have been unbelievable all year long. I enjoy it."