Jaroslav Halak shows his value as he helps Bruins end losing streak

Mike Cratty
March 16, 2019 - 11:10 pm

On a night when UFC superstar Conor McGregor was in the house, Patrice Bergeron reached a career milestone with his 800th career point, and Brad Marchand celebrated an overtime winner with a McGregor tribute, it might be easy to overlook Jaroslav Halak.

With the Bruins suddenly on a three-game losing streak, and Tuukka Rask cooling off along with the rest of the team in the process, the B's were looking for Halak to step up against the Blue Jackets, and that's exactly what he did.

Halak stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced, giving the Bruins the opportunity to eventually pick up two points with a 2-1 overtime win and snap their mini-skid. His only blemish was Matt Duchene’s goal that tied things up at one late in the first period, but that was a great effort and shot from Duchene and would've been tough for anyone to stop.

The outing continued a strong stretch for Halak going back to the beginning of February. He hasn't allowed more than three goals in any of his nine games (eight starts) in that time, and has posted a .944 save percentage in that time.

Despite only facing 15 shots through the first two periods, Halak looked pretty comfortable in the cage. In doing so he kept with the trend of being a stable member of the Bruins’ successful goaltending tandem this season.

Some of his highlights of the night came on a key glove stop on Zach Werenski late in the third period, as well as his stop on Oliver Bjorkstrand on the doorstep. Halak continued his strong play into the overtime frame with some excellent saves.

“For the most part we managed the puck well, we skated hard, we did some good decisions with the puck,” Halak said. “Obviously I’m happy with the two points, with the win, could have been better if we got a few in regulation, we had some good looks, but they didn’t go in.”

The top line, specifically Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, delivered when they needed to in a low-scoring game, and Halak’s 24 saves were crucial in the win, especially later in the game.

“We all knew we had to come here and play a solid game and we did,” Halak said.

While coach Bruce Cassidy has been forced to have his top skaters eat more minutes due to a rash of injuries, Halak's play has allowed him to comfortably keep his goalie rotation in place and not overwork Rask. That rest could prove to be key come the postseason, and it could also keep Halak ready should he need to step in at some point.

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