Ondrej Pavelec

Under Pressure: Ondrej Pavelec

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“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.

For the Winnipeg Jets, we pick… goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

If there’s a guy that’s beyond worthy of being put under the microscope in Winnipeg it’s the 26-year-old Czech netminder.

Pavelec has been a lifer in the Jets organization getting his start with the team back in Atlanta. In the team’s final year in Georgia, he posted what have turned out to be the best numbers of his career going 21-23-9 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.73 goals-against average.

Since moving to Manitoba, life hasn’t been great for him on the ice. Check out his stats from the past three seasons:

2011-12:  29-28-9   .906    2.91

2013:      21-20-3   .905    2.80

2013-14:  22-26-7  .901    3.01

It was following that 2011-12 season the Jets re-signed Pavelec to a five-year, $19.5 million deal. Considering how average that season was, many people questioned it.

Now that his numbers haven’t improved (they’ve gotten worse) and he’s got three years left on a deal that counts for $3.9 million against the cap, it had some wondering if the Jets would use a compliance buy out on him during the offseason. That didn’t happen and now it’s on him to prove he’s worthy of the faith being put in him. After all, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff declared Pavelec as their No. 1 goalie heading into next season.

To make things a bit more dramatic, the Jets re-signed backup Michael Hutchinson to a two-year deal after he had three impressive games at the end of last season. Will he be enough to put pressure on Pavelec to perform at his peak best? That’s up to Paul Maurice, but he was outplayed by Al Montoya last season and still held down the starting job.

With the fans in Winnipeg growing weary of losing and Pavelec’s numbers not living up to the billing of being a starting NHL goalie, a shake-up could be on the horizon if he doesn’t improve quickly. It may be time for him to become “Pavelectric” on a nightly basis.

More Jets day coverage:

It’s Winnipeg Jets Day on PHT

Largely unchanged Jets will have tough time in reloaded Central

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

***

As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.