Jaroslav Halak has a pretty good track record in playoff elimination games. His Game 6 win over the Capitals moved him to 6-1 in his career with only 12 goals allowed. He's also 4-0 in such games against the Caps.
But all of Halak's previous playoff experience came five years ago with Montreal. History looks nice, but the way Halak has played in the majority of the games in this first-round series is what gives the Islanders faith in him entering Monday night's Game 7.
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"I'm very confident,'' Jack Capuano said of Halak, who had 38 saves in Game 6 on Saturday. "He's been there before, he knows what it takes. No question he'll probably be our best player.''InteractiveVote: What will you miss about Nassau Coliseum?
Halak did not have a good game in Washington in Game 5. Capuano pulled him after the Caps' fifth goal, nine minutes into the third period of a 5-1 shelling.
That last goal was one Halak would want back, a toss off the boards by Jason Chimera, but he actually had been quite sharp, probably the only Islander who was through the first two periods.
But in his first Islanders season, Halak has shown that he's able to shake off poor performances. Saturday's win made Halak 5-2 in games after an outing in which he allowed at least five goals.
"We know he bounces back pretty strong, and he did that last game,'' Capuano said. "We know he'll be strong [Monday night].''
Halak's big 2010 postseason started at Verizon Center, where he spelled Carey Price for Game 2 of that conference quarterfinal against the top-seeded Caps. Montreal fell behind 3-1 in the series before Halak made 53 saves in a 4-1 win in Game 6 and 41 saves in a 2-1 win in Washington in Game 7.
The stakes will be similar Monday night. And if the Islanders get a similar performance out of Halak, the results also might be similar.