Why Jaroslav Halak Needs To Be in Net Against the New York Islanders

Felix Sicard@@YeetrocityCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2009

MONTREAL- SEPTEMBER 24:  Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Montreal Canadiens warms up prior to the NHL preseason game against the Boston Bruins on September 24, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 2-1 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadien's early season five-game skid finally came to an end on Tuesday night in a hard-fought shootout win against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Had Ondrej Pavelec not been extraordinary for the Thrashers, the Canadiens might have won the game by more than two shootout goals.

While a victory was nice, what should be duly noted is the strong play of Jaroslav Halak.

For too long now, it appears that the coaching staff of the Montreal Canadiens has been more concerned about Carey Price's "confidence" than the team's success.

Last year, when Halak came in at the end of the season, the Canadiens won games .

Unfortunately for the Slovak netminder, management was overly concerned about the well-being of highly touted draft pick Carey Price.

Since 2006-07, Jaroslav Halak has been a role model for any young aspiring prospect.

Never one to complain, Halak has quietly gone about his career providing solid goaltending to a team that simply doesn't seem to appreciate it.

His work ethic in practice is outstanding and has never been questioned. The same cannot be said for the supposed number one, Carey Price.

Price was incredible in the first two games of the season, but has since been average. Neither extraordinary or ordinary, he's been decent but hasn't been able to provide that one big save that can change the momentum throughout the course of a hockey game.

Against the Thrashers, Halak made a breakaway save on Ilya Kovalchuk that pretty much turned the tide of that game. Knowing that their goalie had their backs, the team went on to dominate Atlanta for the rest of the game.

Had "Kovy" scored, the Canadiens' already fragile psyche would have been shattered and the game might have had a different outcome.

It is well known that teams play better when they are confident in their goaltender. This was evident as the Canadiens rolled to a dominant sixty-minute performance.

Not only did Halak provide the early saves, but he denied Kovalchuk again in the shootout en route to victory.

It's time that the Habs' management starts putting the team's success over Carey Price's individual needs. The number one goaltender has to be the winning goaltender.

And that needs to start tonight against the Islanders.