Having already shouldered a mammoth workload this season — 1906 shots faced, fifth-most in the NHL — Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec was livid after Monday’s 6-4 loss to Ottawa, a game the Winnipeg Free Press called “an absolute defensive nightmare.”
The guy that’s kept Winnipeg in so many games this season watched as his playoff chances were essentially snuffed out.
But rather than bite his tongue, Pavelec let loose.
“This hockey is not going to take you to the playoffs,” he said after the Jets allowed six even-strength goals. “Even if we make it, if we’re going to play like that everybody’s going to kill us.”
Pavelec seemed especially irate at Ottawa’s fifth goal, scored just 24 seconds after Winnipeg tied the game:
“There’s got to be more responsibility there,” he said. “You tie the game with three minutes left and everybody’s so excited at a time when you need every point and then they score like 10 seconds later.”
This isn’t the first time Pavelec’s seen a defensive breakdown — far from it. The Jets have been nightmarish at times in their own end, a big reason why they rank 24th in goals allowed (2.88 per game) and have surrendered 47 power play goals, fourth-most in the NHL.
Pavelec said things need to change.
“You fight for the playoffs — this isn’t the hockey that’s going to take us to the playoffs,” he explained. “This is the hockey like summer hockey, exhibition games. We had a lot of scoring chances, a lot of shots to the net. Offensively I think we were good.
“But defensively it’s about five guys on the ice… I don’t know what to say. It’s a tough loss, but it’s been like that before.”
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer