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Thursday April 29, 2010 11:02 pm

The great upsetters

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL, Playoffs,

Jaroslav HalakCan you believe it? The unthinkable has happened! Goliath has been beaten by David again. That is, the Montreal Canadiens have ousted the Washington Capitals in the first round, and what’s worse is that not only was it a opening series upset, but it was also a President’s Trophy-winning team that fell to a lowly opponent that barely made their way into the postseason. Sure the series went the seven-game distance, but that’ll be no consolation to Washington fans.

Jaroslav Halak stole the series for the Canadiens, going 4-2 with a .939 save percentage overall. Most importantly, he only allowed a goal per game in each of the final three wins. He faced 134 shots in those games. That converts to a .978 save percentage. Most teams in the history – and future of hockey would have a tough time advancing against goaltending like that. Halak is hot, and that’s exactly what the Canadiens need right now.

Halak is all but emerging as a number one goalie for Montreal, but that doesn’t sit well with some, who still think that Carey Price should be the main man between the pipes for the Habs. But while Halak is standing on his head in net, Montreal would be well-served to play the hell out of him until his secret is unearthed. The Canadiens are going from one scoring empire in Ovechkin to another in Sidney Crosby, and their – especially Halak’s – number one priority has to be shutting The Kid down.

So now the Canadiens will face off against the next biggest threat in the playoffs - the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens now hold the top seed in the Eastern Conference as all three division winners lost their opening round series. If the Canadiens can do the unthinkable again, not only will they shift from “uneasy eighth-seed” to “biggest threat in the history of hockey”. All the rules written about teams like the pre-April 11 Montreal Canadiens will be out the window, and we’ll definitely be in for an exciting finish to the 2010 season.



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