Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has had to battle Michael Hutchinson for playing time all season, but lately he’s been making coach Paul Maurice’s decision a simple one. Pavelec turned aside 30 of 31 shots tonight to lead Winnipeg to a 4-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers.
It was the Jets fifth straight victory and Pavelec has been between the pipes for all of those contests. He’s allowed just five goals over that span.
His hot streak has come at an ideal time as the Jets have had to stave off the Los Angeles Kings as the defending Stanley Cup champions battle for a postseason spot. The Winnipeg Jets currently control the second Wild Card seed with a 38-23-12 record, giving them a four-point edge over the Kings. However, the Jets situation is even better than that because Winnipeg is also ahead of the third Pacific Division seed holder, the Calgary Flames. So as things stand, Los Angeles would sooner claim Calgary’s spot, leaving Winnipeg untouched.
Edmonton had secured at least one point in four straight contests coming into tonight’s game. That streak has likely cost them a bottom-two spot in the McEichel sweepstakes as Arizona is trailing the Oilers by three while Buffalo is behind Edmonton by six points. All three squads have nine games remaining on their schedule. It’s worth noting that Buffalo and Arizona will play each other two times within the next week and obviously someone has to win those contests.