Home HockeyBuzz Register Login
Last night, the Winnipeg Jets lost another game to Steve Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. An all too familiar result for the Jets and their fans as they continue to struggle out of the gates this season. This loss however, was especially frustrating as the Jets out-shot outhit and essentially outplayed the Bolts for most of the game. So who's to blame for this unlikely defeat? Pavelec of course - a familiar scapegoat for fans and media in the city. On the surface, it certainly seems justified to fault Pavelec for the loss. It was 4-1 Tampa Bay after the end of the 2nd. The shots were 30-18 in favour of the Jets, and Pavelec had allowed 3 goals on 6 shots in the period, 4 on 18 in the game, and to add salt to the wounds of Jets fans, Bolts goalie Ben Bishop was putting on a stellar performance at the other end of the ice. Hammering the final nail in Pavelec's coffin was backup Jets goaltender coming in relief of Pavelec to start the third period and stopping all 9 shots he faced. Yes, it certainly seemed like tonight's loss could be pinned squarely on the infamous Jets starter indeed. What doesn't show up in the stats of last night's game is the difficulty all goaltenders - elite to average to cringeworthy - face in games where they are facing few to no shots for long stretches. What doesn't show up in the stats is the pressure you put on yourself as you are standing in your crease watching the opposing goaltender stand on his head, continues to mount with every save they make. This is compounded when a performance like this is happening in front of your own fans. On top of all of this, when you are standing in your crease cold and not into the game, and finally do face a shot, it's not merely an outside wrister from the halfboards or the point, but rather a high quality chance resulting from a major defensive breakdown. As a result, a goal is scored, confidence deflates further, pressure mounts further, and the pattern repeats itself. The circumstances of last night's game are a nightmare for goaltenders. It is never easy to play where you aren't facing regular shots. It is even harder to play in those games when the shots you do face are high quality scoring chances. Considering these conditions, I refuse to blame Pavelec for last night's loss. Do I wish he was able to bail out the Jets defense on a few of those lapses? Most certainly I do. However, in a game where you are playing cold all night, those game changing saves are even harder to come by, and shouldn't be expected. I think even Ben Bishop would agree that he would much rather face 42 shots - where most are low quality scoring chances - to stay in the game and build the confidence needed to make a couple big saves when your team needs you to.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to leave a comment.