Despite being only 21, Jaroslav Halak has looked right at home in the heat of the playoff race.
MONTREAL - Since being handed the keys to the Canadiens' playoff express by Guy Carbonneau, rookie goalie Jaroslav Halak has quickly made a name for himself in Montreal and the word is obviously spreading. The 21-year-old was named the NHL's third star on Monday.
After going 3-0 with a 1.33 goals against average and a .957 save percentage, Halak earned the honor just behind Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Sharks sniper Jonathan Cheechoo. Halak's busy week also saw him pick up his first NHL shutout in a 1-0 win over the Bruins on Tuesday.
"It's a real honor," said Halak. "I wasn't expecting it at all. But it still comes back to how well the guys in front of me playing right now."
Halak becomes the second Canadiens player to crack the league's three-star list this season, joining Sheldon Souray who made the cut on Oct. 23.
"I have to admit that I'm really happy just to still be here," admitted Halak. "Just a few weeks ago I was totally expecting to be sent back to down to Hamilton. It feels great to be able to help the team, especially right now in our fight for a playoff spot."
Halak will put his four-game winning streak on the line against the Rangers Tuesday night at the Bell Centre in a clash of two teams vying for a playoff berth in the East.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com