Jaroslav Halak will never get a chance to produce an encore performance with the Montreal Canadiens after he impressively lead the team’s run to the Eastern Conference finals. You cannot blame some Habs fans for getting a little attached to the goalie who seemed impregnable through two rounds of the playoffs against the Penguins and Capitals, the two teams who were considered the upper crust of the conference.
Jaroslav Halak raised an estimated $22,000 for Ste. Justine Children’s Hospital Saturday, signing 1,100 autographs over a period of roughly three hours.
Halak’s circus-like appearance at La Capsule Sportive in Montreal-suburban Pointe-Claire attracted an estimated 5,000 fans. But even signing furiously at a rate of about six autographs per minute, his 3 1/2-hour appearance also including media interviews, Halak could sign for “only” 1,100 over three hours. He met thousands of fans on his way out of the mall when security asked him to pack it in 30 minutes after the mall closed, 90 minutes after the scheduled end of the signing session.
Halak will spend a couple of days in Montreal, wrapping up some personal affairs, before flying to St. Louis midweek. He’ll formally meet the St. Louis Blues ownership group on Wednesday and be introduced to that city’s media at a Thursday news conference.
Who knows if Halak will be able to make good on his outstanding postseason performance, but at least he seems like a solid guy. Then again, you can’t blame him for feeling pretty charitable after he seemingly received the only decent deal of any goalie who didn’t go Russia this summer, inking a four-year, $15 million deal.
Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.