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Ondrej Pavelec stops 31 shots, Jets blank Flames in pre-season play

Winnipeg Jets' Chase De Leo, right, has his shot stopped by Calgary Flames goalie Jon Gillies during third period pre-season NHL hockey action in Calgary, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
October 02, 2016 - 9:53 PM

CALGARY - Two rookies trying to leave a strong final impression and a veteran goalie looking to reaffirm himself were a dangerous combination for the Winnipeg Jets.

Scott Kosmachuk had a goal and two assists, linemate Chase De Leo added two helpers and Ondrej Pavelec was perfect on 31 shots as the Jets won 4-0 over the Calgary Flames.

Kosmachuk opened the scoring 4:48 into the first period, converting a slick feed from De Leo on a 2-on-1.

The same two combined to set up Mark Stuart's goal on a 4-on-2 midway through the second that extended the lead to 3-0.

"Just looking to leave my impression," said the 22-year-old Kosmachuk, who has spent the last two seasons in the AHL, other than an eight-game NHL call-up late last season.

"It was a good game for everybody. We came out strong and finished strong and personally, I had a little bit of success."

That line also featured JC Lipon and the trio caught the eye of Jets coach Paul Maurice, who remarked how much they have improved since last season.

"They're stronger, they're faster, they're more in tune to the pro game and they came out and played like this was a really important game for them," said Maurice. "They knew how many games were left and they want to make sure they leave a strong impression."

While the odds are slim that Kosmachuk or De Leo will make the Jets opening night roster, Pavelec's situation is different. Entering his 10th NHL season, he is looking to solidify himself as the No. 1 goaltender.

"It's been a while since I played the game, but it was a good game," said Pavelec, who made his first start of the pre-season. He had been with the Czech Republic at the World Cup of Hockey.

"For me, it's about getting that feeling back, being in game action. Practice is practice, game is game."

After a .920 save percentage two years ago, that fell to .904 last year. He is battling with Michael Hutchinson and top prospect Connor Hellebuyck.

Maurice thought he was at his best in the third period. Two of his best stops came in succession when he thwarted Lauri Korpikoski as he cut in dangerously off the wing then minutes later, threw out his glove to rob Sam Bennett.

"In the third, I thought he got really square on some difficult shots. He looked sharp."

Ben Chiarot and Paul Postma also scored for Winnipeg (3-1-0). Closest to scoring for Calgary (2-3-0) was Mikael Backlund, who hit two goal posts.

It was a rough night for Chad Johnson. Making his first start for the Flames at the Saddledome, the three goals on the Calgary native in his 30 minutes of work came on just six shots.

Prospect Jon Gillies made 17 saves in relief.

Notes: It was Backlund's first pre-season game. He had to leave Team Sweden during the World Cup due to a concussion... Calgary had two PTOs in the line-up in Korpikoski and defenceman Nicklas Grossman... Flames are expected to get down to 25-26 skaters by early as Monday. They currently have 41 players in camp.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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