Jaroslav Halak has not played in a playoff game for the Boston Bruins, mainly due to the fact Tuukka Rask has been an absolute force between the pipes, but his value to the team has not gone unnoticed.
Halak played well for the B’s in the regular season, posting a 22-11-4 record with a .922 save percentage and 2.34 goals-against average. And if it weren’t for him, Rask probably wouldn’t be as sharp as he’s been in the playoffs.
Rask had just 46 appearances throughout the regular season — the least amount since the lockout in 2012-13 — and head coach Bruce Cassidy made sure Halak got the credit he deserved.
“It was by design, not the exact number (of games Rask) played,” Cassidy told Boston Sports Journal’s Conor Ryan. “But by design, in terms of, we knew Tuukka would be less than in previous years, closer to 50, 55-ish, somewhere in that number, depending on injuries or anything like that. It was lower than that. I think it’s helped him, I don’t know how much, only he can answer that. And that goes to Halak, he actually hasn’t had a chance to go in there and that’s probably a good thing, but he’s a big reason why we’re here. A big reason.
“He played excellent for us, picked us up a number of times this year, when we were basically a two-headed monster in net,” he added. “Both guys, I think they had very similar numbers, Halak’s might have even been better in the regular season. Kudos to him. Tuukka has taken the ball and run with it in the playoffs. We didn’t know how that would play out, we were hoping we would get consistent goaltending every night. We have. But he was a big reason, Jaro.”
So at the end of the day, it seems Halak played a bigger role for the Bruins in providing them a reliable backup goalie who not only was able to go in at any moment, but provided Rask enough rest to be as productive as he’s been throughout the playoffs.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images