BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins are going with Jaroslav Halak in net again for Wednesday night’s Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The puck will drop roughly 22 hours after Game 2’s conclusion, but the B’s feel comfortable with the 35-year-old Halak going on back-to-back nights.
Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy made the announcement during his Wednesday meeting with reporters.
“He didn’t skate on the ice today, but he’s recovered well,” Cassidy said of the veteran netminder.
Halak has started six games for Boston this postseason in place of Tuukka Rask, who left the NHL bubble in Toronto in the middle of Boston’s opening round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Boston is 4-2 in games started by Halak, who has tallied a .916 save percentage while allowing 2.50 goals per contest. So far in the Eastern Conference semis, Halak has stopped 71 of the 77 shots that the Lightning have sent his way.
But the series is tied 1-1 after Tampa’s 4-3 overtime victory on Tuesday night, with the Lightning firing 86 shots Halak’s way (40 of which made it to the net) over his 65 minutes on the ice. Given that heavy workload, there was some speculation that Cassidy may turn to 23-year-old Dan Vladar to make his NHL debut in Game 3. Vladar played in 25 games for the AHL Providence Bruins this year, going 14-7-1 with a .936 save percentage and 1.79 GAA.
But Cassidy is going back to Halak, asking the veteran to mind the net for Boston in back-to-back games for just the second time all season. In the only other instance, Halak did not start Boston’s second game in as many nights, but he didn’t have much success. He allowed three goals on eight shots in relief of Rask in a blowout loss to the Vancouver Canucks back on February 22, a night after he made 21 saves in a win over over Calgary.
Cassidy did say the Bruins may dress seven defensemen and just 11 forwards for Game 3.