Ondrej Pavelec was holding court on Friday and one of the topics brought up was the vintage two-pad stack he broke out in the first period to stop Kyle Turris on an early 2-on-1 chance in Thursday’s 1-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
“It’s old school,” said Pavelec, who made 33 saves to record his second shutout of the season.
In a league dominated by butterfly goalies, the two-pad stack has been removed from most goalie coach handbooks, but Pavelec admits he likes to keep the shooters guessing every once in a while.
“You see it with the older goalies and I don’t like to play just one style,” said Pavelec. “If you play like a robot, it’s kind of easy (for the opposition) to read. When I grew up, we didn’t have a goalie coach, so you watched TV for how to play and you try to make those saves too. A lot of Czech goalies use that style.”
Pavelec has logged 1,243 minutes and 54 seconds in 22 games this season and with the 33 saves against the Coyotes, he pushed his save percentage to .902.
Although there was no official confirmation, look for Pavelec to make his 23rd start on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils and for Chris Mason to be back between the pipes on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins.
Former Manitoba Moose netminder Johan Hedberg is expected to start for the Devils after Martin Brodeur started against the Minnesota Wild on Friday.
INJURY UPDATE: There were a few positive developments on the injury front on Friday as defenceman Brett Festerling was on the ice participating in full practice, while fellow blue-liner Randy Jones skated with his teammates for the first time since suffering an ankle injury against the New York Islanders on Nov. 3.
Festerling is cleared for contact but needs a few more skates before the Jets decide what to do with him, while Jones is making progress and is expected to be back in action in about one week.
Noel said a one-week absence is about what forward Nik Antropov (undisclosed) is looking at right now as well.
There was no update provided on defenceman Ron Hainsey, who is dealing with a lower-body injury.
Right-winger Eric Fehr took part in practice Friday, but left early, which leaves him questionable for Saturday’s game.
Fehr has one assist in five games since returning from off-season shoulder surgery, so you can expect the team to be cautious in monitoring his situation going forward.
“It’s going to be like that all year and I’ve accepted that,” said Noel. “We have to see how it goes. I’m seen those things. It’s the same as when a guy has major knee surgery, his whole next year is just a battle and you fight through. You have to sit him out and rest him when it gets sore.”
Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien skipped Friday’s skate with a lower-body issue and Noel said he would be a “game-time decision” on Saturday.
Byfuglien has five goals and 17 points and has recorded 100 shots on goal this season.
ZAJAC NOT READY: Winnipegger Travis Zajac, who had surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, is skating back in New Jersey but isn’t quite ready to return to game action.
Zajac, a first round pick (20th overall) of the Devils in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, has 89 goals and 249 points in 408 NHL games.