Halak Dazzles in First Season with Boston
Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports
For all of the Bruins postseason run, Jaroslav Halak was a spectator. Although the Bruins backup did not appear in any playoff games, he was key to their success.
His signing came with little excitement prior to the start of the season, but by the end he was one of the Bruins best pickups. Next season he will be counted on again as the Bruins hope to return to the Stanley Cup Final.
Going into next year, Halak will be coming off his best season in recent memory. In 40 games last year, the Slovakian native recorded five shutouts, his highest total since the 2014-2015 season. He also recorded a goals against average of 2.34 along with a save percentage of .922. After struggling mightily the year before in New York, he has thrived in Boston.
Additionally, Halak carried the Bruins earlier on when Tuukka Rask struggled. When the Bruins number one netminder took a leave of absence Halak played at a Vezina level. Whenever Rask needed a night off his backup was there and welcomed the challenge. In the postseason Halak’s importance was on further display even though he never played a minute.
Due to Halak’s play the Bruins were able to drastically decreases Tuukka Rask’s workload. The Bruins No. 1 goalie only made 45 starts, which was his lowest total since the 2012-2013 season. As a result, Rask was fresh late in the season and during the playoffs. Rask responded by posting a save percentage of .934 and a goals against average of 2.02. It was Rask’s second best playoff run of his career and he was able to silence many of his critics.
Halak will be asked to play a similar role next season. The Bruins are hoping he can sustain his level of play as it gives the Bruins one of the best goalie tandems in the league. Halak will also be out to prove that last year was no fluke with free agency on the horizon.
Last year Halak proved to be the capable backup the Bruins were in dire need of. His play allowed Rask to carry to the Bruins at pivotal parts of the season when he was expected to fail. Although the Bruins roster remains uncertain having Halak back ensures that this team is in good hands regardless of whose in net.