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A zero for Jaro

Tuesday, 24.02.2009 / 11:10 PM / News
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A zero for Jaro
MONTREAL-What will Mats Sundin, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kessler all have in common tonight? All three will have nightmares of Jaroslav Halak and his dangerous glove hand.

Back in nets following a Habs 5-3 win over the Senators, Halak is looking increasingly at ease in the Canadiens’ crease these days. With a 34-save performance against the Canucks en route to the fourth shutout of his career, Halak helped secure the Habs’ first consecutive victories since mid-January.

“This was probably the best I felt in a game this season,” revealed Halak, who frustrated the Canucks’ sniper all night long. “Sometimes the puck can look as small as a marble to a goalie or as big as a beach ball.”

Since making his NHL debut three years ago, Halak has looked as comfortable in the blue paint at the Bell Centre as in his bathrobe and pyjamas in the morning. In 24 career starts at home, the 23-year-old Slovak netminder is 18-3-1, including 10-3-1 this season.

“We were talking before the game about being overdue to win a few games in a row,” admitted a smiling Halak. “I’m glad I was able help the team win. That great ovation I got wasn’t just for me, it was for the whole team.”

Christopher Higgins and his teammates would beg to differ. The Habs’ dressing room consensus was that Halak earned every last decibel of the multiple standing ovations he received on Tuesday.

“I think this was the best game I’ve ever seen him play. He sure had that glove hand going,” said Higgins. “His biggest save of the night? You can take your pick. You could go with any one he made on that 5-on-3 or any of the breakaways he stopped tonight.”

According to Halak, he didn’t make the best save of the night. That honor belonged to Patrice Brisebois, who rescued a sliding puck that squeezed through Halak’s pads and almost crossed the goal line late in the third period.

“As soon as I saw it was about to go in, I didn’t hesitate. I just got to that puck as soon as I could and got it out of there,” said Brisebois. “All of us defensemen talked about it a lot on the bench and we really wanted to get that zero for Jaro. That’s what teamwork is all about and a game like this is going to be great for Jaro’s confidence.”

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com

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