He might not have been able to keep his shutout going, but my guess is a lot of people know the name Jaroslav Halak right now.
The Slovakian-born goalie put together a sensational 53-save effort, at one point making a glove save with enough flair that I jokingly called him “Roy-aslav Halak.” As I wondered earlier, the Capitals will indeed take part in their fourth consecutive 7-game series – all of them coming at “The Phone Booth” in DC, by the way.
Montreal Canadiens 4, Washington Capitals 1
Series tied at 3-3
While Halak wowed the hockey world, Semyon Varlamov allowed some tough-to-stomach goals. The Russian goalie allowed 3 goals on 21 shots but – to be fair – he did make some big saves when his team was still in the game. I haven’t heard many comments about a Jose Theodore-Varlamov Game 7 debate, but isn’t that the nature of this playoff beast?
In the last two games, Halak allowed only 2 goals on 90 shots. People mocked the Canadiens for starting Carey Price for a brief spell in this series (which seems amusing since the Capitals changed goalies, too), but maybe that lit a fire under Halak? Either way, he’s playing so well that people are wondering if he’s in the Capitals’ heads at the moment.
All I know is that with every dominant performance, Halak’s value as a restricted free agent rises higher and higher. More on the playoffs’ second guaranteed Game 7 soon …