Rangers counting on former nemesis Jaroslav Halak to add experience

When Chris Drury signed Jaroslav Halak to a one-year deal on the primary day of free company this summer season, the Rangers president and normal supervisor stated he had heard all concerning the veteran goaltender’s “Rangers-killer moments.”

There have been fairly a couple of main as much as Halak pulling on his personal pink, white and blue sweater for the primary time. Boston — one in every of six cities he beforehand referred to as residence throughout his 16-year NHL profession — served because the backdrop when he took the ice Tuesday evening for what turned a Rangers 3-2 extra time loss to the Bruins of their second preseason recreation.

Halak — who gave up one purpose on 15 photographs — cut up time in internet with the opposite goaltender Drury signed this offseason, Louis Domingue.

In 35 profession video games in opposition to the Rangers, Halak owns a 24-9-1 document, with staggering statistics: 5 shutouts, a .927 save share and a 2.33 goals-against common. Who may overlook the 2017-18 season, when Halak was with the Islanders and confronted the Rangers a whopping 4 instances. He gained all 4, by the way in which, together with a monster 50-save efficiency on February 15, 2018.

Jaroslav Halak #41 of the New York Rangers makes a save against Luke Toporowski #83 of the Boston Bruins
Jaroslav Halak #41 of the New York Rangers makes a save in opposition to Luke Toporowski #83 of the Boston Bruins.
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The Slovakian netminder gained all three video games he performed in opposition to the Rangers in 2019-20 with the Bruins. Even final season with the Canucks, Halak shut out the Rangers in two of his three video games in opposition to them.

“Can’t beat him, signal him,” Chris Kreider quipped Tuesday at MSG Coaching Middle in Tarrytown.

After buying and selling Alexandar Georgiev, who was discontent in a backup position, to the Avalanche hours earlier than the primary spherical of the NHL draft this previous summer season, the Rangers sought to exchange him with an NHL veteran. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin was the one goalie left within the group with NHL expertise as soon as Keith Kinkaid signed with the Bruins in free company.

Halak’s 39 playoff video games of expertise and head-turning observe document in opposition to the Rangers made him an intriguing choice.

“I nonetheless suppose I’ve a pair objectives on him, a pair shootout objectives and whatnot,” Mika Zibanejad joked. “I really feel like each time we’ve performed him, we all the time understand it’s going to be a troublesome evening. He is an effective goalie. Clearly, each goalie has their crew, nevertheless it gave the impression to be it doesn’t matter what crew he was on each time he performed us he was nice.

“He’s been round for a very long time, a whole lot of expertise. I’ve received to agree [with Drury], it’s good to have him on our facet and have that skilled goalie.”

The opposite profit to the addition of Halak is the truth that he’s no stranger to a backup position. Halak has by no means competed in additional than 59 NHL video games in a single season, a quantity he reached in his first marketing campaign with the Islanders in 2014-15. The dynamic within the locker room ought to profit from that, contemplating Halak signed seemingly realizing he could be the No. 2 behind Shesterkin.

Halak has additionally been teammates with some elite NHL netminders, corresponding to Carey Value and Tuukka Rask, so taking part in behind Shesterkin needs to be acquainted territory.

“He is available in, he’s a veteran man, I like him,” head coach Gerard Gallant stated of Halak. “Let him get some video games underneath his belt, let him get going and we’ll see the place it goes. He’s an excellent goalie and [Louis] Domingue is similar factor. They arrive in right here, they’re veteran goaltenders and that’s what we’re in search of.”

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