The second Ondrej Pavelec era in Winnipeg may be over.
Pavelec, who went 4-4-0 following a mid-January AHL recall, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday — a procedure that could sideline him for the remainder of the season.
“Pavelec had a scope done on his knee this morning,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said, per Illegal Curve. “Normal window is 2-3 weeks recovery for a player. Can be longer for a goaltender.”
Pavelec has been sidelined since Feb. 7, and the Jets have gone almost exclusively with Connor Hellebuyck in goal ever since. Thanks in large part to the NHL’s eighth-best offense, the Jets have masked goaltending and defensive issues and remained on the outskirts of the playoff picture.
Winnipeg has won four of its last six, and heads into tonight’s action just three points back of St. Louis for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Of course, the Jets have played two more games than the Blues, and would need to leapfrog both them and the Kings to get into a postseason spot.
Which is why the Pavelec injury is a problem.
The club has little faith in Michael Hutchinson — he’s barely played since the Pavelec recall, and his last start was a 6-5 loss to the Wild. That means Hellebuyck is going to carry the load over the final month of the regular season.