Pavelec not home for a rest
Ken Wiebe, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Jets right winger Chris Thorburn (r) congratulates goalie Ondrej Pavelec after their 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in NHL hockey in Winnipeg Thursday, November 17, 2011.
(BRIAN DONOGH/QMI AGENCY)
Ondrej Pavelec sees no reason for a rest and that’s a good thing because it looks like he won’t be getting one until next week.
All signs point to Pavelec making a 12th consecutive start as the Winnipeg Jets host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday at MTS Centre (2:05 p.m., CBC, TSN 1290).
“I’m happy I can play and the coach trusts me,” Pavelec, who improved to 6-7-3 with a 3.12 goals against average and .901 save percentage after Thursday’s 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals, said.
“I like it and I’m happy. Another big team is coming in, they have great players, great offensive guys. It’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
Pavelec wasn’t sure what the longest stretch of his career was, but he did make 12 straight starts last season from Jan. 17 through Feb. 17 as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers.
While it’s been more than a one-man show, Pavelec’s ability to raise his level of play in recent weeks has been key as the Jets inch closer to .500 at 7-9-3.
“He’s been awesome,” Jets forward Nik Antropov said. “The last couple of years I played with him, he’s stealing games here and there and he’s playing outstanding right now.”
“He’s a workhorse for us,” winger Blake Wheeler added. “He’s been brilliant for us, he’s stood on his head and if we can try and make the game a little bit easier for him some nights, it’s going to keep him fresh and overall, it’s going to just make our team go a little bit better.”
Pavelec’s game has improved dramatically since giving up seven goals in a 9-8 win over the Flyers on Oct. 27, a game that saw him pulled early in the third with the score 6-6 before returning after Chris Mason injured his groin.
“That was a crazy game and those games happen,” Pavelec said. “It was a tough game for me, but at the end of the day, we had the win. The big thing I was able to play the next game right away and show myself I can stop the puck.
“Both teams are going to play a little bit different than last time and hopefully, the goalies are going to be better.”
Jets head coach Claude Noel wants to get Mason playing again and with games on back-to-back nights next week, there’s a good chance the streak will come to an end next weekend.
For now, the Jets hope to continue to ride the wave.
“When he’s playing that well, it’s an easy decision,” said Noel. “The only decision I wrestle with is rest.”