Pavelec to start for Jets after 3-month stint with Moose
Jets coach optimistic Pav will help them out of current struggle between the pipes
After three months with the Manitoba Moose, Ondrej Pavelec is back between the pipes for the Jets.
The Jets announced Tuesday Pavelec will start against the Arizona Coyotes Wednesday in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg has struggled with goaltending in recent weeks. Head coach Paul Maurice said Tuesday that while Pavelec had a slow start at the beginning of the season, he's since built up some momentum with the Moose and is ready to play.
I'm not looking at these two guys saying, 'They're not good enough.' Their play right now isn't as good as it needs to be, but I believe in them.- Paul Maurice
"We've got to win hockey games and we've got a guy who is feeling confident, feeling strong," Maurice said. "Ondrej is playing well — it's time for him to get in the net."
The six-foot-three goaltender said he's glad to be back in the big league.
"I was happy. I was surprised as well. I haven't played with them for [three] months and all of a sudden I get the call," Pavelec told reporters.
Pavelec played 18 games for the Moose. He wraps up his time with the AHL team with a 0.917 save percentage, 2.78 goals-against average and a 8-7-2 record.
The 29 year old has been with the Jets organization since the team moved to Winnipeg in 2011.
The Jets also announced Tuesday that defenceman Ben Chiarot has been put on injured reserve following a Jan. 11 upper-body injury in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.
With Chiarot off the bench, the Jets won't be sending either Connor Hellebuyck or Michael Hutchinson to the Moose. Both goalies will remain in rotation for Winnipeg, a Jets spokesperson said.
"They're in a bit of a difficult position as well because we aren't scoring quite as much to take some of that pressure off of them," Maurice said, adding the Jets are the fourth most fired upon team in the league right now.
"I've got lots of time for Connor Hellebuyck and for Hutch for that matter ... I'm not looking at these two guys saying, 'They're not good enough.' Their play right now isn't as good as it needs to be, but I believe in them."
Maurice also said the condition of injured rookie phenom Patrik Laine is improving, but he wouldn't provide any other details about when the 18-year-old goal-scorer might be back on the ice.
With files from Brett Purdy