MONTREAL – Netminders league-wide may bristle at being labeled a back-up goalie but in Montreal, there’s no question that Jaroslav Halak has Carey Price’s back.
With seven wins in his last nine games, including a 5-2 mark in the New Year since Price went down to injury, Halak has helped keep the "Canadiens Express" rolling in his All-Star crease-mate’s absence.
“It’s really been the key to our success this year, seeing so many guys contribute while others are injured,” said Mike Komisarek. “Jaro wasn’t happy with the start he had to the season, but you can see that right now his confidence is growing with every game.”
Holding down the fort for the red-hot Habs, who have 10 out of a possible 14 points this month, Halak is breathing a sigh of relief now that he’s been able to get his groove back in a hurry.
“Without question, the more I’ve been playing the more comfortable I feel out there,” said Halak, who had played as little as one game over an 11-game stretch this season from Nov. 16 to Dec. 6. “I really have to give the guys in front of me a lot of credit. Even when I was struggling for a while there, they just kept scoring the goals that got us the wins.”
All modesty aside, according to Komisarek, Halak’s solid play between the pipes is hardly an accident.
“He’s a guy who puts in the work in the gym and on the ice with Rollie [Melanson] and although he isn’t the biggest of goalies, he plays big,” added Komisarek. “Jaro is coming up big for us and what can you say, the puck is just sticking to him right now. We’re lucky to have Jaro back there.”
With sweat dripping from his brow everyday in the gym on his road to recovery, Price couldn’t agree more.