Winnipeg Jets' Al Montoya Stands Tall Against Ottawa Senators

By Jonathan Katje
Winnipeg Ottawa Al Montoya
Marc DesRosiers – USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets pulled off a big win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, and backup netminder Al Montoya earned a shutout, his second win of the season. The Jets now have a 5-5-1 record on the season, and would be a bubble team for the playoffs if the season ended this weekend.

Alexei Ponikarovsky got the lone goal for Winnipeg, sneaking a shot past Senators backup goaltender Ben Bishop in the third period. The Jets have won two of their last three games, and saw an improved penalty kill stand tall to help preserve the win. The Jets penalty came into the game ranked dead last on the penalty kill, but shut down all three of the Senators’ power play chances.

Montoya was making just his second start of the season. In his one previous appearance against his former team, the New York Islanders, he made 21 saves as the Jets got a goal from Evander Kane for an overtime win. Starter Ondrej Pavelec played the five games in between Montoya’s starts, but managed only one win. This is far from being a goaltender controversy, but given Montoya’s strong play so far and Pavelec’s struggles, it would at least make sense to split the two more evenly moving forward.

The sixth overall pick in the 2004 draft, Montoya was drafted by the New York Rangers, but didn’t reach the NHL until the 2008-09 season with the Phoenix Coyotes. He made 52 starts in two seasons for the Islanders but managed only 18 wins. He has never had the chance to be the go-to goalie for an NHL team, and the worst he can do this season is play well enough to earn a new contract. The Jets signed him to a one-year, $601,000 deal in 2012 and have Pavelec under contract for five more seasons counting the current one.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to your network on Google.

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