Interesting tidbit this morning from the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle, who notes that the Winnipeg Jets “have the worst team save percentage in the NHL in their last 20 games (.881).”
Not surprisingly, the Jets won just eight of those games (and only five in regulation). As a consequence, they’ve seen their playoff chances fall from around 93 percent at the All-Star break to just 46.3 percent today, per Sports Club Stats.
Rookie Michael Hutchinson, such a pleasant surprise earlier in the season, has really been struggling. His save percentage in February was a lowly .898. And it’s been even lower in March, just .845 in four appearances.
That has many wondering if coach Paul Maurice should start turning more to much-maligned veteran Ondrej Pavelec, who stopped 15 of 16 shots in Saturday’s 2-1 win in Tampa Bay.
… I felt really good in that game. That thing happened at a bad time. After that, I didn’t know if I was even going to get another chance to play. I was trying to put it behind me. But it was in my head, for sure. You can say whatever you want, but it’s there. So you just try to put it behind you. It wasn’t going away. Maybe now it has.”
The Jets have a couple of tough home games this week, against a desperate San Jose team Tuesday and a very strong St. Louis club Thursday.
We’ll have to wait and see how Maurice handles the goaltending duties going forward. But if the Jets end up missing the playoffs again, and it’s again due in the large part to the goaltending, expect plenty of questions for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who went into the season with a starter that hasn’t been good in a number of years and a totally unproven rookie as the backup.