WINNIPEG — Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec didn’t want to talk about his first shutout of the season after Winnipeg beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-0 on Tuesday.
His focus right now is on his club’s depleted roster as they look to gain experience and foster a winning culture amongst their young lineup.
“It’s good for the young guys to feel how it is to win the game,” said Pavelec after deflecting questions about his 28 save performance. “But another day is tomorrow and L.A. will come into our town so it will be probably a little bit of a different game.”
Adam Lowry’s sixth goal of the season proved to be the game winner, while Mark Scheifele added an empty-netter for his team-leading 24th.
“I think they’re in a similar situation as we are when you look at the players they’re missing from their roster,” said Lowry, who now has two goals in his last five games. “We’re continuing to build for the future and continuing to try and improve every day.
“We know everyone is playing for jobs for next year. We’re building something in here and we’re trying to get the identity to where we need it to be.”
Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom was masterful, stopping 47 shots including 35 before the Jets were finally able to solve him. His club, meanwhile, has not produced any sort of offensive support. Vancouver has been blanked in three straight losses and its last goal came March 16 — a span of over 11 periods.
“I mean, obviously not winning hockey games is very frustrating, especially the way we do it, too,” said Markstrom. “It’s really important for us as a group to not just count the games down. We got to stick to it, we’ve got play better than we’re doing right now.”
“(They have) played great for us all year,” Henrik Sedin said about the Canucks’ goaltending. “That’s never been a problem. We know they play great for us. It’s tough to go through. We’re all disappointed, there’s no question about that. But you still have to look at it as a process. It’s not going to change overnight.”
Jets rookie forward Nic Petan, recently recalled from AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose, seemed especially energized Tuesday night on his 21st birthday. Petan made the Jets out of training camp before his reassignment back to the AHL in late November. He has now dressed in three consecutive games for Winnipeg.
Finding himself on the Jets’ top line alongside the team’s top two scorers in Blake Wheeler and Scheifele, Petan hit a post early in the second period before being robbed by the glove of Markstrom on a power play soon after.
“You get a little frustrated, but a win’s a win,” said Petan. “For myself, those are things you’ve got to get over real quick. Missing the first three or four opportunities, you want to get the next one, but it just wasn’t going in. Even the empty-net wasn’t going in. You’ve just got to get over it.”
“(Petan is) capable of making some plays,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. “It’s just good to see a little bit of the confidence to take that into the hole and not keep looking for (Scheifele) or (Wheeler) which is what young players will do. What I really like about his game (is) he’s eliminated the plays that he was trying to make early in the year that are really high risk, kind of low payoff plays.”
Vancouver — 14-14-7 on road this year, while just 13-19-5 at home — continue its three-game road trip through the Central Division with stops in Nashville on Thursday and St. Louis on Friday.
The Jets, who continue to jockey for draft position amongst the cellar-dwelling clubs at the bottom of the NHL standings, conclude their current four-game home stretch on Thursday night when they host the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Kings.