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Maurice defends Pavelec following Anaheim collapse

Apr 1, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

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Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec was under fire last night after he and the Jets blew a four goal lead in Anaheim to lose 5-4 in OT.

Today, his head coach jumped to his defense.

“He played a hell of a game,” Maurice said, per the Winnipeg Sun. “He made some great saves in the third period and made a couple of great saves leading up to that. It can’t be the results that we gave up five that our goaltender wasn’t any good”

It’s hard to gauge exactly how at fault Pavelec was for last night’s epic collapse. He was under siege for most of the third period as the Jets were out-shot 24-6 (and outcored 3-0), so there wasn’t much support being offered.

That said, he was coming off a shaky effort in Saturday’s loss to the Kings, and didn’t look especially good on Stephane Robidas‘ OT winner:

Last night was really a jumping off point for Pavelec’s critics. He’s been largely underwhelming this year, boasting a 20-25-7 record with a .901 save percentage and 3.05 GAA. Those numbers are some of the worst among starting netminders with 50-plus appearances this season, and Pavelec gets even more heat given he’s only in the second of a five-year, $19.5 million deal with a $3.9 million average annual cap hit.

But while others might be piling on, Maurice stuck by his goalie.

“They [Ducks] had some fine scoring chances,” he explained. “He played well.”

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