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This article was published 10/3/2015 (2053 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ST. LOUIS — Even Ondrej Pavelec couldn’t defend himself. He didn’t even try.
Winnipeg Jets goalie Pavelec, who went from hero to goat in the time it takes a veteran defenceman to whack a puck on net from just inside centre ice, refused to emerge from the back of the visitor’s dressing room complex and take questions from the media Tuesday night.
Pavelec gave up an inexcusable goal with just 1:03 left in the third period of a 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Blues and almost certainly cost his team a point and maybe more as they strive to reach the post-season in squeaking tight Western Conference.
Jets coach Paul Maurice was forced to speak for Pavelec, and he didn’t take his goalie off the hook.
What did you see on the winning goal, Maurice was asked.
"It went in," said the coach, leaning in the reporter’s direction with a menacing glare. "There was nothing magical about it."
No doubt, Maurice was thinking about the lost point or points that could come back to haunt his team at season’s end.
Veteran Blues defender Barret Jackman fired the puck on goal with little force and in what was more of a dump in than a shot on goal, and somehow it got past Pavelec.
The goal came after Pavelec had been brilliant in a third period where the Jets killed off four Blues’ power plays and come back from a 4-1 deficit.
Without Pavelec’s play the Jets would not have found themselves tied at 4-4. He provided the foundation for the comeback. But then he let it slip away in a moment of utter failure.
The goalie has to stop the puck in that situation. He has to be focused and he has to turn that shot away. All the time. No exceptions.
Neither team will consider this as a blueprint for how they would like to operate going forward. In fact, both clubs might do well to flush this from the memory bank as soon as possible.
The Jets were terrible for a good portion of the first 30 minutes and then the St. Louis Blues took a powder for the final 30. It was a poor hockey game, with an exclamation point of disaster for the Jets.
Winnipeg took a first-period lead on Michael Frolik’s 16th goal of the season but then got a little snoozy and watched four straight go into their net.
Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Steve Ott and Jori Lehtera all pumped goals past Jets starter Michael Hutchinson for a 4-1 lead on just seven shots, which resulted in a goalie change midway through the second.
Ondrej Pavelec came on in relief and stopped the flood with a number of handy saves to get the Jets to the dressing room down 4-1 after 40 minutes.
Winnipeg rallied early in the third on goals from Andrew Ladd and Lee Stempniak to trail 4-3 just 1:45 into the third period.
The Jets, however, couldn’t stay out of the penalty box and took four straight minors to keep the Blues on the power play for much of the third period.
But even short-handed, Winnipeg couldn’t be denied as Blake Wheeler tied the game at 4-4 with 5:26 left in the third period.
Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson allowed four goals on seven shots and was given the hook midway through the second period for the fourth time this season and the second in just three games.
Messing with Myers
Jets defenceman Tyler Myers and Blues winger Alex Steen got tangled up in the corner, and it turned ugly. Steen pushed at Myers’ face with his gloves and his stick, and that set Myers off. He dropped his gloves and starting firing punches at Steen. Myers is listed at 6-8 and Steen is maybe six-feet. The reach advantage was obvious and Steen was really unable to mount much of a defence.
Rough and ready Reaves
Winnipeg native Ryan Reaves has carved out a nice career for himself in St. Louis and is effective in a fourth-line role as well as being able to handle the muscle end of things. Reaves takes a regular shift for the Blues and has six goals and four assists through 65 games. Reaves closes well on the forecheck and can hit. After pasting Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom for the second time in one shift, Reaves was asked to fight by Anthony Peluso, and he gave the Winnipeg tough guy as much of challenge as he’s had in some time. Reaves can play and fight, making him a valuable commodity in today’s NHL.
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Updated on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 7:51 PM CDT: Updates score.
9:54 PM: Updates score.
10:18 PM: The Associated Press writethru, adds slideshow.
11:08 PM: Local writethru.
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