Halak gives Canadiens playoff push

RED FISHER, The Gazette

Let me see if I have this right: Jaroslav Halak has started eight of the 10 games since the end of the Olympics break and won six of them. During that upward spiral, the Canadiens have out-scored the opposition 32-24.

What that tells me is that no matter what you’ve heard from Canadiens management, Halak is clearly the Canadiens’ No. 1 goalie.

You go with the guy who’s been at his best down the stretch.

Know something? He even played well enough to win last night if enough of his colleagues had reported to the team bus.

Instead, the Ottawa Senators earned full value for their 2-0 win – their fifth victory in the teams’ six-game season series.

If you’re counting, Carey Price was in the nets for the Canadiens’ first two games following the Olympics: a win in Boston and a loss in San Jose. He got those assignments largely because of Halak’s heavy schedule at the Olympics.

Price also started in Anaheim, was yanked after the first period and has been a spectator since then.

However, with the Canadiens playing in Buffalo tomorrow and the next night against the visiting Florida Panthers, Price can expect to play in one of those.

In other words, barring injury, this is Halak’s team – despite last night’s loss.

The point is, goaltending is what it’s all about at this time of the season and particularly in the playoffs. If you don’t think so, ask some of the Ottawa players about it.

As you know, the Senators had won a franchise-best 11 in a row and 14 of 16 before the Olympics. Coming into last night’s game, they had fallen to 1-7-1 since the break. What that did was take what appeared to be a sure-thing playoff spot into a wait-and-see situation, and what they saw from goaltender Brian Elliott was precisely what they desperately needed to get that winning feeling again.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Halak+gives+Canadiens+playoff+push/2714498/story.html#ixzz0j0ZEzPtx

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