They're in a bit of a difficult position as well, because we aren't scoring quite as much to take some of that pressure off of them. ... I'm not looking at these two guys saying, 'They're not good enough.' Their play right now isn't as good as it needs to be, but I believe in them. --Paul Maurice on Hellebuyck and Hutchinson, via CBC NewsThe call-up came as a surprise to Hellebuyck, and Pavelec shared that feeling of surprise. "I think no matter when a player joins, you're a little surprised," Hellebuyck explained in a Twitter video posted by the Winnipeg Jets. "I was happy [to be called up]. I was surprised as well," Pavelec said to reporters. "I haven't played with them for [three] months and all of a sudden I get the call." There is no bad blood between the goalies, says Hellebuyck, but Pavelec chose not to comment on the situation. "I think it would be hard to be respectful if I make any comments about how everybody's playing," Pavelec said to reporters via the Jets' official Twitter. "It wouldn't be fair because I wasn't here, I was with the Moose so I don't want to comment on any of it." Pavelec chose the classy route, yet this is still undoubtedly a déja vu moment for the Jets; last year, Hellebuyck, Hutchinson and Pavelec split the season into three nearly equal parts and with Pavelec slated to start his third consecutive game Monday night, the situation becomes more complicated.
Hellebuyck's Plight"Do you understand that the goaltending hasn't been good enough in the [eyes] of the management, and that's why they're recalling Ondrej?" one reporter asked Hellebuyck following practice on Jan. 17. After a long pause and a grimace, Hellebuyck fired back: "I mean, that's your opinion." Hellebuyck has fallen victim to a sloppy lineup. Yes, of course, the goalie's job is to stop pucks, but that becomes harder to do with the lack of support up front.
Struggling Team to Blame?[caption id="attachment_174971" align="alignright" width="300"] (Bruce Fedyck/USA TODAY Sports) Hellebuyck is sporting a 16-13-1 record at press time, including three shutouts.[/caption] The number of shots for and against per game is especially relevant when talking about goalies. The Jets have more wins when being outshot by an opponent than when they are outshooting them; in fact, the Jets had fewer shots on goal than the opposing team in 28 of their 49 games. This discrepancy is noticeable in shots per game too, where the Jets are in 22nd place. With a team hanging their goalie out to dry like the Jets have statistically done, the question arises: Is the problem with the goaltending or the team as a whole? Perhaps a little of both. One game in particular, encapsulated the goaltending troubles. Maurice had some choice words following a lackluster performance against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 12. Hellebuyck gave up three goals on seven shots, which prompted Maurice to put in Hutchinson...who then allowed four more goals. "We were horse[crap], right from the drop of the puck until the very end of it," said Maurice to Yahoo! Sports. Hellebuyck was on the bench after being pulled prematurely in back-to-back games leading up to Pavelec's call-up. That's no coincidence. Still, despite the bumps in the road, Hellebuyck has shown signs of potential.
Even after those past two performances, Hellebuyck's 0.907 season sv% is still better than Pavelec's was in 4 of the past 5 seasons here.— Ryan Blight (@arby_18) January 14, 2017