Jaroslav Halak has been a mainstay in the Montreal Canadiens net of late, as the Habs have been out-shot in most, if not all, of their last four wins. Halak has stood tall through the last four games with Ottawa, Vancouver, Philadelphia, and San Jose. Most of these games, the Habs have seen as many as 45 shots directed at their goal.
On Saturday evening in an interview with Bob Gainey, Gainey mentioned that the team is working to get Carey Price's confidence up to the level it was at the beginning of the season. When he was on, he was one of the top goalies in the league!
When Price went down with an high ankle sprain early in January, he was not the same upon his return. Actually, both he and Halak couldn't pull off a win for a while, and the road trip out west gave evidence of that—with one win and a tie.
But the return back to the Bell Centre seemed to light a fire under Halak's butt, and he has stopped just about everything directed at him. This has kept Price on the bench for now, but reality tells you Carey is the future of the Canadiens, and he will soon be back between the pipes.
The acquisition of Schneider has certainly improved the power play. Mathieu has scored two power-play goals since his return to the Habs. Sending Alex Kovalev home for two games has helped his play somewhat, as he has had seven points since his return to play.
But how can Jaroslav keep winning?
With all that rubber being directed at him, if the Canadiens do not start getting more shots at the opposition's goaltender, Halak won't be able to keep winning. In Saturday's game against the Sharks, the Canadiens were out-shot in the second period by a margin of 36-6.
I'm hoping that this year's trade deadline will help Montreal. Another defensive player and a strong presence up front would help. Every year, they make a play for the big name, and always seem to come out on the losing end of these deals.
You always hear that players don't want to come to the pressure cooker that is Montreal, but hopefully this year, the Habs will be looked at as a possible destination for a Stanley Cup. There's nothing wrong with hoping and dreaming, is there?
In the mean time, let's hope that the winning keeps up, with Halak between the pipes and Montreal continuing to improve their position in the standings. With the Flyers losing Sunday, a win in Buffalo on Wednesday would put the Habs ahead of Philadelphia by one point—a good place to be.