Pavelec paves way to Jets’ first playoff berth back in Winnipeg

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For years, the Winnipeg Jets have faced criticisms – often justified ones – for sticking with Ondrej Pavelec. It only seems right, then, that he’s played the best hockey of his divisive career to help the Jets clinch their first postseason berth since moving back to Winnipeg.

The Jets actually lost tonight, yet Pavelec was perfect before the shootout, eventually falling to Reto Berra and the Colorado Avalanche 1-0 (SO). He’s now generated three consecutive shutouts, even if he’ll take the loss:

Remember when he couldn’t even hold onto the Jets’ starting job? Granted, one may argue that Pavelec is a tough handful of playoff games from bringing Michael Hutchinson back into the future, yet management must feel brilliant sticking with the acrobatic goalie through thick and thin.

The Calgary Flames may have secured the Jets’ playoff spot to some extent by beating the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, but Pavelec and a handful of other stalwarts like Blake Wheeler stand as the true heroes.

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As far as adding some extra context, the history angle shifts depending upon how you view this current edition of the Jets.

If you look at this as the adapted Atlanta Thrashers, then this is the franchise’s first playoff bid since they made their only appearance during the 2006-07 season (only to be humiliated by the New York Rangers).

If you look at this as Winnipeg Jets 2.0, then this is their first playoff berth since 1995-96.

Whatever way you slice it, the Jets muscled their way through some serious turbulence to finally make the playoffs, and opponents would be foolish to expect a smooth ride when facing them.