Halak a valuable asset for stretch run

Goalie Jaroslav Halak has weathered the ups and downs of a season spent mostly in the AHL. Now he’s seizing his chance again with the Canadiens.
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images Sport

There was anxiety, with gusts of panic, among Canadiens fans when GM Bob Gainey shipped veteran goalie Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals on Feb. 26, trade-deadline day in the NHL.

But Gainey’s decision to elevate Jaroslav Halak from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs to form a tandem with rookie sensation Carey Price is thus far bordering on genius, the two having combined to run up a 7-3 record in the 10 games played by Montreal since the trade; they have a glittering .940 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average. Halak has been a model of patience and good attitude this season, most of it spent in the AHL. On Saturday, his 3-0 shutout of the New York Islanders made him a perfect lifetime 8-0 at the Bell Centre.

Dave Stubbs reports on the 22-year-old Slovakian, who could be an important cog in the Canadiens gears heading down the stretch run toward the playoffs.

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