If the New York Islanders are going to make the playoffs they’re going to face the Washington Capitals. Thankfully they have a secret weapon in the blue paint.
It’s been a tough year for New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak. He’s had a down year statistically with a .909 SV% and a 3.03 GAA in 25 games and was effectively banished to Bridgeport for a lengthy period.
But now back with the Islanders, he could be the difference maker should, by some miracle, the Islanders make the playoffs. At this point, with Ottawa picking up a point against Detroit last night, the Islanders need to win all of their remaining four games if they have any hope to make it.
Numbers Against Caps
In the regular season, Halak is 6-1 against Alex Ovechkin and his group over the last three seasons averaging a .914 SV% and a 2.58 GAA.
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Just this season Halak is 2-1 against the Caps stopping 103 shots of a possible 110. The Islanders might be completely outmatched by the Capitals quality, but Halak has kept them in the game.
But that’s the regular season, what about the playoffs?
Halak has faced the Washington capitals in two playoff series. Once with Montréal in 2009-10 when the Habs went to the Conference Finals thanks in large part to Halak.
In that series, Halak put up a .915SV% and a 3.33 GAA allowing just a single goal in the final three games of the series as the eighth-seeded Canadiens beat out the President Trophy to Caps 4-3.
The second time Halak faced the Capitals was in 2014-15 with the Islanders. Halak once again stood on his head keeping a .927 SV% and 2.28 GAA while facing an average 31 shots a night. The Islanders still lost that series in seven games, but you couldn’t say Halak lost them that series.
In that final game, the Islanders managed as many turnovers as shots on net, eleven. Johnny Boychuk had more shots on net – five – than every Islanders forwards combined. That’s #noeffort or #noshow on the part of every Isles player except Halak (and maybe Boychuk).
Should, if, maybe, use whatever modal verb or adverb to describe the Islanders uncertain future regarding playoff contention, but Halak just seems to have the Capitals number. Thomas Greiss deserves the start without question, but should he have a tough go, Halak is the best possible backup option.