The Islanders have lost three of their last five, and have surrendered a whopping 21 goals over that span.
As a result, their playoff chances have taken a significant hit — down to just 26 percent, per Sports Club Stats — and now folks are asking if veteran netminder Jaroslav Halak should be recalled from AHL Bridgeport.
“Kind of a stupid question, I don’t know,” [Jean-Francois] Berube said. “I’m here, I hope I did enough to be here. I worked hard to be in this position. At the same time, I’ve been working hard and trying to find my game.
“It really stings right now because I know I’m a lot better than this. It’s a really tough situation, but I’m not going to give up. I know people believe in me, just have to find a way.”
Interim head coach Doug Weight was asked if he was thinking about bringing Halak back, but he was unsure immediately after the game.
“We’ll get on the plane and talk, and I don’t know that anything is going to happen,” Weight said. “I have no idea.”
Berube has struggled mightily over his last five games. He allowed four goals in back-to-back appearances against the Devils and Blue Jackets, and things really bottomed out on Monday night, when he was hooked after allowing another four goals — on just 13 shots.
Halak, meanwhile, has thrived since being sent down to the AHL in late December. He’s gone 16-5-1 with a .926 save percentage, and drew some interest from teams prior to the March 1 trade deadline.
The question, or concern, about a Halak recall is what effect it might have on starting netminder Thomas Greiss. The two have worked in tandem in the past, though it was pretty clear part of demoting Halak in the first place was to fully anoint Greiss as the club’s No. 1 (the Isles inked Greiss to a three-year extension shortly after demoting Halak, as if to cement it.)
But the Isles now have just 14 games left in the season, and there has to be concern about Greiss’ potential fatigue. Berube’s poor play has forced interim head coach Doug Weight to use Greiss quite a bit, and it’s hard to imagine there’ll be much trust in Berube moving forward.