By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Ondrej Pavelec would prefer a different result when the Winnipeg Jets face the Minnesota Wild of Friday night. With the 6-2 loss to the Oilers still fresh in their minds, the Jets and Pavelec erase that memory against the Wild.
“Of course, it is hard to put it behind you, especially with that effort we played in Edmonton,” said Pavelec, who was shelled for six goals on 30 shots in Oil Town.
The Jets had a couple days off over Christmas to reflect and get over the humiliation of losing, again, to one of the worst teams in the NHL. It came as a welcomed break according to Pavelec, though he wasn’t sure if it was a good one.
“We needed it, it was really good in the schedule, we got to be ready for Minnesota,” he said. “We didn’t play good the last few games, we will see. Ask me after the game about if it was a good break or not, but we needed it.”
Pavelec didn’t say it, but his teammates felt that no respect was shown to their No. 1 in the loss to Edmonton. Anyone who watched the game would be hard-pressed to argue against that point as the Czech goalie was often left to fend for himself.
“For me, the most frustrating part was the way we kind of disrespected Pavelec a little bit,” Wheeler said remorsefully. “He has fought for us so much, not only this year, the last couple years. He has made some saves he shouldn’t make for us and kept us in some games we maybe shouldn’t be in.
“We didn’t show a whole lot of respect for him last game, so I think that was the thing that burned the most for me. (He is) one of our teammates, we hung him out to dry; I think we are better than that.
Wheeler said the emotion after the game was raw, a coming together of sorts in terms of their recent poor form and the negativity that comes with it.
“It was kind of a culmination of a lot of negativity coming together,” he said. “We haven’t really been blown out this year, all of our losses have been 2-1, 3-2, which at the end of the day all count the same, they are all frustrating in their own right.”
One goal games have been a trend for the Jets this season, a trend that is ever-present against the Wild, where the Jets have a lost all three of their meetings by a single marker.
“I don’t think we need to do anything differently, we just need to find a way to score another goal,” said Wheeler on reversing the scoreline this time around. “These aren’t high-flying, 5-4 games. Whoever is going to win this game is going to win it 1-0, 2-1 so somewhere within the game we need to find a way to score another goal.”
Scott’s Scribbles: Defenceman Zach Bogosian is day-to-day with the flu bug, his second bout with the illness this season…Defenceman Grant Clitsome has been placed on the injured-reserve due to back issues… Head coach Claude Noel said after the pre-game skate that he “still believes in the team”…