Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec was under fire last night after he and the Jets blew a four goal lead in Anaheim to lose 5-4 in OT.
Today, his head coach jumped to his defense.
“He played a hell of a game,” Maurice said, per the Winnipeg Sun. “He made some great saves in the third period and made a couple of great saves leading up to that. It can’t be the results that we gave up five that our goaltender wasn’t any good”
It’s hard to gauge exactly how at fault Pavelec was for last night’s epic collapse. He was under siege for most of the third period as the Jets were out-shot 24-6 (and outcored 3-0), so there wasn’t much support being offered.
That said, he was coming off a shaky effort in Saturday’s loss to the Kings, and didn’t look especially good on Stephane Robidas’ OT winner:
Last night was really a jumping off point for Pavelec’s critics. He’s been largely underwhelming this year, boasting a 20-25-7 record with a .901 save percentage and 3.05 GAA. Those numbers are some of the worst among starting netminders with 50-plus appearances this season, and Pavelec gets even more heat given he’s only in the second of a five-year, $19.5 million deal with a $3.9 million average annual cap hit.
But while others might be piling on, Maurice stuck by his goalie.
“They [Ducks] had some fine scoring chances,” he explained. “He played well.”
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.