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Holy Halak!

by Bob McElligott / Columbus Blue Jackets

April 29

I remember going into the Bell Centre back on November 24 and preparing for the game between the Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens. There seemed to be a goaltending controversy brewing. Carey Price was getting the bulk of the starts, while Jaroslav Halak was a mere spectator. When Halak did get the chance to play, he played very well. So well, in fact, he felt he deserved to be the starting goaltender and if it wasn't going to be in Montreal, he'd gladly go somewhere else. There was even a time when the Canadiens were looking at what offers might be out there for him. How glad are they that they never pulled the trigger?

Halak almost single-handedly beat the Washington Capitals in the final three games of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. He faced 134 shots and turned away 131 of them. This is the same guy that was pulled in game three and didn't start game four. He did benefit from a ton of blocked shots in those games. In fact, Montreal blocked 41 last night alone.

Can the Habs now knock off the defending Stanley Cup Champs? I think the Penguins will benefit from the rest they've gotten the last few days, but a hot goaltender can take you a long way. Will Halak stay hot, or will the Penguins prove to be too much? In my opinion, the difference between Pittsburgh and Washington is composure. They both have a lot of firepower, but the Penguins seem to have a better grasp on how to use it. They drew off their previous playoff experience in game six against Ottawa. Even though they were down by three, they never pushed the panic button, they just kept on working hard until the game was tied. Also, no one player tried to put the team on his back and do too much. It seemed Ovechkin tried to do that in each of the last three games and couldn't get his team over the top. The Pens are accustomed to guys like Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal scoring important goals. Those are third and fourth line players that make a difference. Will it be enough? We'll see.

Finally, R.J. Umberger never meant to start a ruckus with the comments he made after the Caps played here in early April, but it turned out he was right. Even if it didn't go down just the way he predicted, the Caps are still out. Wonder if Ted Leonsis will issue him an apology, on his blog today?

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac", "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.

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