TORONTO — Jaroslav Halak will miss the next six to eight weeks with an apparent groin injury, leaving the Islanders in Thomas Greiss’ hands heading down the stretch and into the postseason.
Jack Capuano announced the news on Halak Wednesday night before the Islanders’ game against the Leafs. Halak suffered the injury with 4:30 left in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the Penguins, grabbing at his leg after stretching to stop a shot and heading straight off to the dressing room.
”Jaro’s an experienced guy who’s played some big games for us,” Capuano said. “It’s a big loss for our team. We’ve got some guys who can step up and hopefully they can do the job.”
The Islanders have carried three goaltenders the majority of the season and now Greiss will take over the main role with J-F Berube, the 23-year-old who has made only two NHL starts, as the backup. Halak is 18-13-14 with a .919 save percentage and was credited with his 200th career victory on Tuesday.
Greiss, who signed a two-year deal with the Islanders on July 1, has been a revelation as Halak’s understudy this season, winning 18 of his 26 starts as he entered Wednesday night’s game leading the NHL with a .930 save percentage. But he has never been a true No. 1 and it’s his net for the rest of the season.
“You don’t have to say much about what Greisser’s done this year,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “We have a luxury not a lot of other teams have, having two backups who are extremely capable. It’s still tough to hear that news on Jaro, he’s been the guy who’s played the bulk of the games for us and played well.”