The 1st Star of the game held onto a .971 save percentage by the games end, and not to mention was sensational in the dying minutes of the game to help the Jets hold onto the 2-1 win as he made several sensational saves as he was up against a 6-4 attack.Taking down the teams from the top, killing the Boston Bruins 15 regulation win streak and diminishing the Wild's 7 game win streak, the Winnipeg Jets have turned into Giant Killers! In there last 10 they are 6-3-1 and have now made a push to get into the top 8 within the Eastern Conference.
As the Jets were under pressure, Pavelec held strong emotional control and was able to display his strongest stint of his stellar play in the final minutes of the game. After losing his stick, Pavelec was forced to lunge his body forward in similar fashion to the Game 7 Stanley Cup winning saves made by netminders Marc-Andre Fleury and Anti Neimi.
Looking at both goaltenders in comparison, with nearly 10 years separating them in age, both goaltenders style and recipe of play show some similarities.
Ond?ej Pavelec, a Czech born netminder who played his junior hockey in the QMJHL, displays an athletic and instinctive nature game. As he is seen constantly reading threats and managing his depth and adjustments his superior game can be noticed as he responds to a players shot. His saves may not look 'simple', but in his mind they definitely are. There is nothing 'robotic' within the saves that he makes. Using his peripheral vision he is able to make elbow and shoulder save seem casual. On other high to the net shots you can find him having his dominant leg set vertical to combat the height of the puck along with having his hand set high.On cross-crease feeds you can find Pavelec diving out and stacking the pads, making the save his team needs to gain momentum. Other instances off the rush he is more controlled and patient with slight shuffles on his feet and using a full spread pressuring the shooter to release the puck into his body and limbs. In the opposing end, the finnish born Niklas Backstrom is seen through the opposing teams eyes as large in stature. The number one characteristic that Backstrom illustrates in net is his aggressive and re-active stance. His blocker wrist is fairly 'cocked' forward and his glove hand is tilted downward cutting off the trajectory of the puck. Active hands and limbs are one of his well-known strengths. On Tuesday night there was a sequence of saves where Backstrom reacted to a high shot with his elbow and shoulder and then proceeded to extend his pad instinctively to his glove side to combat with a far side rebound. Both Pavelec and Backstrom display similar post positioning. Both goaltenders are balanced between a wide and narrow stance, and both understand when to drop down tight to the post in a butterfly and when to stay loaded on the post in a blocking VH position. Pavelec and Backstrom use a VH-Paddle Down approach to nearside net drives on their glove side where they look to drive outward pressuring towards the attacker, cutting off space from the opposition. One of the advantages that Backstrom has over Pavelec is his strict butterfly approach to direct low shots from around the perimeter. In many occasions Pavelec is seen lifting his leg early, opening up space below his core along the ice. Backstrom on the other hand has a simple wide butterfly approach where he is fairly consistent directing pucks by steering pucks with his pads and stick. Athletically flexible, both goaltenders are able to pop back up, from their knees and from a supine position laying on their back, after they make a stop and make their post-save recovery on their feet. Playing in different conferences, born in different countries, nearly a decade separating them in age, but yet two goaltenders are able to display themselves with many comparable characteristics within their positions between the pipes. Besides looking at their various styles of play to stop the puck, both of their biggest strengths are evidently their ability to hold the momentum for their teams when needed. Across the globe, two different goaltenders are born approaching the game in similar ways, and on Tuesday night both goaltenders were able to hold their teams in the game with similar momentum gaining stops. [gallery link="file" columns="4"]