October 31, 2009
Just over a week ago, Atlanta Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec(notes) was the butt of jokes after letting in a 190-foot shot against the Washington Capitals. This afternoon, Pavelec gave fans a better reason to remember him by with a 50-save performance in a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
With tomorrow being the 50th anniversary of Jacques Plante donning a goalie mask for the first time (though Clint Benedict might have an argument), late in the second period, Pavelec hopped inside of his "way back" machine and took an Alex Kovalev(notes) shot off his shoulder sans mask:
Due to the traffic in front of the Thrashers goal and coupled with trying to avoid the puck as Kovalev skated with it, referee Don VanMassenhoven was delayed in calling the play dead as soon as Pavelec lost his mask. Thankfully Kovalev's shot didn't go any higher otherwise Pavelec's tribute would have taken an all-too real turn.
Thanks to Ben Wright of the Thrashers for sending along the video