Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak has tested positive for COVID-19. Coach Bruce Cassidy broke the news on Monday.
Cassidy: Jaroslav Halak is entering the COVID-19 Protocols after returning a positive test.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 5, 2021
Jarsolav Halak Tests Positive for COVID
The Bruins have relied heavily on Halak as of late, with starting goaltender Tuukka Rask still sidelined with an upper-body injury. Overall, Halak has played well in relief of Rask. He has a .910 save percentage and a 2.44 goals-against average on the season. Those numbers have declined slightly from a .919 save percentage and 2.39 goals-against average last season, but are still solid considering the veteran netminder’s suddenly increased workload. Halak has nine wins and eight losses (including three overtime losses) in a total of 16 starts.
Over his 15-year NHL career, Halak has played for the Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, and Boston Bruins. He was drafted in the ninth round, 271st overall, by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2003 NHL Draft.
What This Means for the Future
Halak’s positive test causes an immediate issue for the Boston Bruins. The Bruins will enter tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers missing both of their usual netminders. This situation is particularly dangerous because Boston currently sits right on the edge of the playoff bubble with the Flyers just four points below them. Missing both Halak and Rask for tonight’s contest gives Philadelphia a good chance to close the gap to two. And if the goaltenders remain out for the next two Bruins-Flyers games this week, it will be even more difficult for the Bruins to maintain their lead – especially given the recent struggles of Boston’s defence.
With Halak out, Daniel Vladar will get the start. The 23-year-old netminder has only played three games at the NHL level but has performed solidly, recording a .929 save percentage and two wins. Assuming Rask is unable to return by tomorrow, the Bruins may have to put Jeremy Swayman in net for the second game of their back-to-back against the Flyers. It would be 22-year-old Swayman’s first NHL start.
With the trade deadline still a week away, this could also put the Bruins in the market for a netminder.
Main Photo: VANCOUVER, BC – FEBRUARY 22, 2020: Goalie Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Boston Bruins during NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on February 22, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)