On Thursday, the Islanders recalled Jaro Halak from Bridgeport. This gives the Islanders the best chance at making the playoffs this season. After some less than stellar moments from JF Berube, we can also assume that we will most likely not see him again this season. This will not be the three-goalie situation we saw at the beginning of the season, it will be just Greiss and Halak down the stretch. How often we will see Halak in net over the remaining 10 games? The job still belongs to Greiss, but with three back to backs, Halak will be critical to helping the Islanders make the playoffs.
Jaro Halak went to Bridgeport December 31, and since then has played well for the Islanders AHL affiliate. Halak was 17-7-3 including a 12-game winning streak in February. He also posted a 2.15 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. It seems like he put his early season struggles behind him and is ready to help this team move forward.
Friday March 24th At Pittsburgh
This is the game that caused the Islanders to make this transaction. After Wednesday night’s victory at MSG, the Islanders have a back to back coming up this Friday and Saturday. Saturday may be the biggest game of the season when the Isles host the team that is currently holding the final playoff spot in the Bruins. Before that, there is a critical matchup in Pittsburgh. We didn’t see anything in Berube that would give the Islanders confidence in playing such a difficult but meaning full game. It would also be reckless to allow Greiss to play in all three of these games. The Isles have to worry about burning out Greiss. Halak will come back with plenty to prove, this moment will not be too big for him.
Friday March 31st vs New Jersey
This is another back to back situation in addition to three game in four days. Thursday the Islanders are in Philadelphia and Sunday they are in Buffalo. This will give Greiss enough rest of be ready for the Sunday game. Halak will give the Isles a great chance to beat this plummeting Devils team. This is also a great opportunity to give Halak a home start as they will be hard to come by with only four of the remaining ten being played at the Barclays Center.
Saturday April 8th at New Jersey
Many may see game 81 as a point where everyone needs to play but now that Halak is back, he needs to play here. With five games in eight nights having Greiss play all of them could cause some problems down the stretch. This is also the front end of a back to back, this should give Greiss the rest he needs for what should be a huge game Sunday vs Ottawa.
The recalling of Halak is a critical decision to help this team make its final push towards the playoffs. This is critical in allowing Greiss to get the required breaks in order to keep him fresh, while giving the Islanders a good chance to win on those nights. In addition, this proves to the locker room that this organization is able to put personnel differences aside and give them the best chance to make a playoff run. It’s been a long time coming but finally it’s good to see a credible backup.