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Jets Journal: Looking Forward

by Kristi Hennessy / Winnipeg Jets

After a dominating 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars Wednesday night, the Jets gathered at the MTS Centre Thursday morning for an optional workout and practice. They await their next opponent, the Washington Capitals Friday night.

Keep Rolling with Pavs

Ondrej Pavelec has started in the last six straight games and assuming he plays tomorrow night, it will be his seventh. Seeing that there are only 12 games remaining in the season and considering where the Jets are in the standings, do you ride out Pavelec for as long as you need or do you give him a night off to rest and play Chris Mason? The decision is made on many factors.

“We’re going to play it by ear,” said coach Claude Noel. “I spoke to the goalies about it and we’ll wait and see. Both are capable. It depends on his play and the schedule will have a lot to do with it. Fatigue is a factor and I have to monitor that. We’ve talked to Pavs about that and about managing the next little while because it’s important that we win games. The objective is clear, it’s to win games. If it’s with him, it’s with him, if it’s with Chris Mason, it’s with Chris.”

Pavelec told media Wednesday that he’s feeling great and is ready for as many games as he is told to play.

“I feel pretty good in practice and in the games,” said Pavelec. “Everybody wants to play, and I want to play and now it’s the most important time of the year. It’s been great to have this opportunity to play, it’s been fun.”

His theory is simple.

“If the players can do it, I can’t see a reason why the goalie shouldn’t do it," he said. "I think it’s how you manage your rest off the ice, what you’re doing when you’re not at the rink. A the end of the day, it’s the coaches decision. It’s his choice and his call and our job is to be ready whenever you’re going to play.”

“He’s at a point in his young career that this is a good step for him,” Noel added. “It’s part of being a professional. He’s young to a degree but this is a good challenge for him at this time in his career. We’ve managed the goaltending situation through the year, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to play the games.”

One down, twelve to play.

Confidence is running high in the Jets dressing room after a strong 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars last night. If in fact it was low after the back-to-back losses on the road, it is back and has probably come at the best possible time. They now look forward to their next opponent, an even bigger match-up against the Washington Capitals.

“It’s going to be one of the biggest of the year for me,” said Pavelec. “It’s another game we need to win. We need to have a good rest today and jump on them right away tomorrow and play the same way we did last night.

“Washington is a pretty good team. They have a lot of guys who can score goals especially if you put them on the power play. I think Ovechkin has been a dangerous player all year long. You have to be aware of where he is on the ice and be aware that he can score the goals anytime. “

Captain Andrew Ladd, who scored a pair of goals last night against the Stars, sees the bigger picture and knows first hand about playing ‘playoff hockey’.

“It’s a huge game and we understand where we sit,” said Ladd. “How long the outcome will go for us to make the playoffs, so we’re going to have to have the urgency that you’d have in the playoffs and I’m sure the atmosphere will be great.

“They are a lot more patient than they used to be, they wait for their chances now. They still have high-end guys who can put the puck in the net but they are more of a four-line team that will work and grind it out now. For us, we have to do the same thing. We have to be patient with them and not try to force plays and wait for our chances.”

The Jets have been known to be streak-breakers in the past as they’ve shut down hot teams that have come into the MTS Centre. Most recently the Dallas Stars, a team who had gone 9-0-1, in their last ten before dropping a 5-2 decision last night. Tomorrow, the Capitals are another hot team having won their last four games.

“I think you know when teams are struggling or playing well,” mentioned Ladd. “To play in this building is tough, especially if we get the first goal and get the energy going. The way we play in here, we make it tough on teams. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not but I think teams know it’s a tough place to play.”

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