Ondrej Pavelec would probably just as soon forget this season ever happened. With a .901 save percentage coming into Saturday night's action, the Winnipeg Jets netminder ranked 44th in the league in that category. You don't need to know much about the game to know that's pretty darn bad for a player that is his team's primary starting goaltender.
The season has been full of lows, but Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pavelec gave up a goal that is pretty symbolic of his season.
After attempting to collect a dump-in by Toronto behind his net, the puck got away from Pavelec. The Jets goalie didn't seem overly nervous about it, though, as he circled behind his net.
The puck ended up right on the stick of Nazem Kadri, who easily tapped it in to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead in a crucial game for their playoff hopes.
This was on a Maple Leafs power play, too, so puck protection might be a good idea while shorthanded, right? Be sure to check the replay angle from behind the net. Not a lot of urgency there from the Jets goaltender.
Here's what might have been going through his head on the play.
Puck comes down the ice.
“Oh, here comes the puck. Guess I should go slow it down for one of my defenseman.”
Puck jumps off his stick.
“Uh oh, the puck seems to be sliding dangerously to the front of my net. Maybe I should hustle to the font to stop it. Nah, it's too late, who cares. We're out of the playoffs anyway. Maybe I'll reach my stick out just so I can say I tried.”
Puck goes in.
“Oh, well. Jets.”
Before the night's game when Jets head coach Paul Maurice explained why he was starting Pavelec against the Leafs, he said this:
"Whenever possible you put your best lineup in there. They deserve it. The Toronto Maple Leafs deserve it and so do the other teams."— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdonPHT) April 5, 2014
While that's a nice thought, I don't know if playing a goalie with a .901 save percentage is technically playing a team's best lineup. That said, regular backup netminder Al Montoya didn't even dress for Saturday's contest. Rookie Michael Hutchinson was backing up instead.
If that's the best they've got, the Maple Leafs will be glad they deserve the best.