(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
It’s going to be one Halak of a playoff season in 2020 if Jaroslav, the B’s backup-turned-starting netminder wearing No. 41, keeps getting better and better as the games get tougher and tougher. In fact, he could even make a bit of Stanley Cup Bruins history if that were to fortunately happen!
But while we’re on the topic of black-n-gold history, let’s ask ourselves an all-too-important and timely question: do the B’s have enough backup power in goal to make a charge in this year’s delayed but still official second season?
What a save by Halak!! pic.twitter.com/TD49oukFJU
— Boston Bruins on CLNS (@BruinsCLNS) August 24, 2020
It hasn’t happened often in modern-day Bruins history that the quote-unquote “number two” in net has vaulted to number one status during a playoff run. Some may argue that Tim Thomas was technically the backup to Tuukka Rask before he took over during the Cup-winning campaign of 2011.
Fair point but that had happened much earlier on AND during the regular season. By the time “TT” was in between the playoff pipes, Rask only ever saw the ice for warm-ups or practices.
And now that Rask has left the ice, and the NHL bubble, for personal reasons this year (and truly, who can blame him when it comes to family — although many unfortunately have), it’s up to Halak to helm the Bruins’ ship and steer them towards Stanley Cup redemption and revenge.
Boston Bruins’ Dan Vladar Unexpected Next Man Up in Backup Goalie Role https://t.co/1f7VJhx5GG
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) August 23, 2020
That means the recently-signed goaltending stud Dan Vladar is now the “backup” to the B’s playoff hopes and dreams in 2020. And who knows… he may even see some time in net before this round against the Lightning is done!
Challenging to play two back-to-backs in series?
Cassidy: “Very. A little surprised it came out that way [instead] of alternating … do we play Vladar or do we have to ride Halak? That’s a lot to ask for Jaro” Halak, 35, hasn’t started consecutive days since Nov. 10-11, 2018 — Mark Masters (@markhmasters) August 22, 2020
And if the Bruins want lightning to strike twice in the form of a return visit to the Stanley Cup Finals, then perhaps BOTH of these so-called backup B’s will have to play a pivotal role in winning multiple playoff games. When was the last time that happened in B’s history?
— Essensa’s Blocker #RIPDucky (@EssensasBlocker) January 29, 2020
Look no further on this #TandemTuesday than to Reggie Lemelin and Andy Moog during the 1987-1988 playoffs and then, rather fittingly and flippingly, Andy Moog and Reggie Lemelin during the 1989-1990 playoffs.
While Moog and Lemelin often split time during the regular season, posing the argument who was truly “backing up” whom, they each had a shot to lead the B’s to Cup glory when they took over as their respective number ones. But as many B’s fans remember, each of the talented and talked-about goalies ran into the juggernaut that was the Oilers Dynasty, neither getting a chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s coveted chalice above their heads.
Of course, there have also been other starter/backup postseason success stories for the B’s, but none that have led them all the way to the finish line. Not since the Gerry Cheevers and Eddie Johnston “Stanley Cup split” of 1972. But I don’t think Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy has that in mind for Halak and Vladar this season.
Jaroslav Halak picked up his fourth assist of the season last night on David Pastrnak’s goal in Florida. That ties the #NHLBruins franchise record for a goalie (Ed Johnston, 1971-72; Gerry Cheevers, 1976-77). pic.twitter.com/bYUDyq8k9Z
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 24, 2019
Nevertheless, Halak has already made his way into into the B’s record books surrounded by Cup-winning company I’m sure he’d like to keep, as noted above. And wouldn’t this already irregular second hockey season be just the time to charge ahead and do it?