Pavelec backstops Jets to first win

If you were to simply add up the dollars, it wouldn’t make much sense.

Winnipeg drops Edmonton 3-2 at MTS Centre

Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec notched a win in his first preseason start during Tuesday's game against the visiting Edmonton Oilers. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

If you were to simply add up the dollars, it wouldn’t make much sense.

Five years and $19.5 million is the price tag the Winnipeg Jets paid to hold onto OndrejPavelec last summer, securing their No. 1 goalie through the 2015-2016 NHL season.

On the surface, an average of just under $4 million per season is high for a tender whose 2013 stats read something like this: 21-20-3 in 44 starts — the most goals allowed by any goalie in the league last season.

But despite what’s on paper, there’s no disputing the value of Pavelec and what he brings to an organization aimed at making the playoffs this year.

And so far it’s off to a good start.

Jets fans got a look at Pavelec for the first time Tuesday night. The 26-year-old native of Kladno, Czech Republic, backstopped the Jets to a 3-2 preseason win against the visiting Edmonton Oilers at the MTS Centre.

Pavelec was near perfect the whole game until two late third-period goals by Edmonton prospect Mitchell Moroz and Phillip Larsen, just 23 seconds apart, ended the shutout run.

“It was good to finally get some game action,” said Pavelec, who recorded 22 saves in the win.

Asked whether the late goals spoiled his debut, he added, “no it doesn’t matter.

"Of course you want to win the game. That’s the first thing and I know I’ll be playing a few more games. For me it was just about getting the confidence.”

And for Pavelec, it’s the kind of confidence that comes with winning games.

“It’s good to have that winning attitude right away. We have to learn from this game that we need to be focused for all 60 minutes,” he said.

That winning mindset has been with Pavelec his whole career. He wants to play. He wants to win. But he knows success comes with a complete effort from everyone on the ice.

“It’s all in the fine details. I think we’re playing well defensively,” he said. “There are a lot of guys playing well right now and we have to keep going.”

The win improves the Jets overall preseason record to 1-1-1.

The Jets will hope to carry that momentum in to the MTS Centre Thursday night when they host the Minnesota Wild. Game time is 7 p.m.

Game Notes:

  • Jets’ winger Evander Kane left in the third period with stomach cramps. Head coach Claude Noel said after the game it wasn’t serious and he shouldn’t miss any time.
  • Dustin Byfuglien and Olli Jokinen both made their debuts Tuesday night. Both missed the score sheet and Jokinen was a minus-1.
  • Jets forward Eric Tangradi made his case to stay with the big club, adding two assists in the win.
  • Bruiser Anthony Peluso scored his first game-winning goal as a Jet.


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