Ondrej Pavelec (Scott Rovak/Getty Images)
Ondrej Pavelec may have single-handedly put the Winnipeg Jets into the playoffs Tuesday night with his second shutout in two nights. Pavelec's stop on Jaden Schwartz midway through the first period was his biggest of the night, and because of it, the Jets may be post-season bound for the first time since moving to Winnipeg.
Less than a month ago, Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was the victim of one of the worst flubs of the season, allowing a goal from nearly center ice to St. Louis Blues defenseman Barret Jackman that resulted in a Jets loss and led many to believe the post-season dream was over. Over the past two nights, Pavelec has more than made up for it.
Monday night in Minnesota, Pavelec blanked the Wild by turning aside all 32 shots he faced. Tuesday, it was more of the same from one of the most maligned starting netminders in the league, as Pavelec got a measure of revenge on the Blues, shutting out St. Louis at home by stopping 30 shots. No stop he made, however, was as incredible as his first period stick save on Jaden Schwartz.
With less than ten minutes remaining in the first period, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo uncorked a blast from the point which resulted in a rebound Pavelec was unable to control. The puck ended up right in front of Schwartz who fired a quick wrister that was absolutely robbed by the stick of Pavelec:
Pavelec's shutout didn't come without a little bit of controversy, however. With five minutes remaining in the second period, Blues center Paul Stastny scored on a breakaway, but the goal was called back because Stastny slashed the stick out of Jets defenseman Tyler Myers' hands, which led to the partial break. Sometimes you have to be lucky to be good.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the shutout marks the first time in the 15-year history of Thrashers/Jets franchise that a goaltender has posted back-to-back shutouts on consecutive nights.
Pavelec's blank slate also helped Winnipeg pick up a crucial two points. Paired with Los Angeles' loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Jets now sit three points up on the Kings for the second and final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The franchise has not made the playoffs since moving to Winnipeg in 2011-12 and last appeared in the playoffs in 2006-07 when they dropped four straight games to the New York Rangers.