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Pavelec to Start for Rangers in Montreal

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Ondrej Pavelec will make his second straight start for the Rangers Saturday night when the Blueshirts head north of the boarder to take on the Canadiens at Bell Centre.

The netminder stopped 27 shots Thursday night in a 5-2 win over the Coyotes, his first victory as a New York Ranger.

"Just feel it's the right thing to do for the group," coach Alain Vigneault said of his decision.

What did Vigneault like about Pavelec's performance against Arizona?

"He stopped the puck," he said. "Goaltenders have to stop the puck. He did a good job."

Pavelec credited the team's strong start as a big reason for his successful night at The Garden, as he was able to see first chance opportunities and thus limit rebounds and secondary chances.

"I think we set the tone and we were ready play," he said after practice. "That obviously helps the goalie get into the game. It was a great team effort I think right from the start. For me, I was able to see the first shot and I was able to see the rebounds. The guys did a great job in front of me to don't get them the second opportunities."

Video: Ondrej Pavelec on starting against Montreal

Montreal is struggling offensively, but it's not for a lack of opportunities. In fact, the Habs haven't finished a game this season with fewer than 30 shots on goal, including a 51-shot effort against Anaheim last Friday night.

The shots are there, but they're not finding holes, as the Canadiens are leading the NHL with 38.4 shots per game, but have a league-worst 4.4 percent shooting percentage.

It's Pavelec's job to keep that going.

"They throw a lot of pucks at the net," Pavelec said of Montreal. "They drive to the net. There's always bodies in front of you, so it's going to be a challenge to find the puck and make those saves." 

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