After the light behind Jaroslav Halak’s net lit red for the fourth time just over halfway into Game 3 against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy pulled the veteran and in went rookie goaltender Dan Vladar.
There’s the good, the bad, and then there’s the ugly. But to describe Jaroslav Halak’s performance during Wednesday night’s 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, it would be disappointing. The 35-year-old was put in a tough position when the Bruins No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask opted out of the Stanley Cup playoffs two games into the first round against the Carolina Hurricanes.
But, Halak’s night was cut short. And alas, Dan Vladar got his first look at NHL-level action.
“He’s in there battling,” said Cassidy on Dan Vladar’s performance postgame. “Listen, it was a point where we felt that if we need Dan Vladar, maybe this is a better way to get him some work. Less a reflection on Jaro. Give him a break. Let’s get a look at him. It was four to one I believe and Tampa got energized from that second period and I think we were deflated. I just had a gut feeling our guys were going to have a tough time pushing back from three goals down, so let’s look at Vladdy. I’ll have to look at it more. There’s a lot of things going on. Goalie Bob will talk to Vladdy. I’m glad he got an opportunity to play. I don’t wish it in that circumstance but it is what it is and he got him some work. Hopefully he’s better off for it down the road.”
Cassidy did not comment much on Vladar’s performance, saying that goaltending coach Bob Essensa would be the one to speak on the matter. The 23-year-old made 12 saves on 15 shots in his NHL debut.
“Bob is the one that will critique his game. That’s his area of expertise and I’ll stay out of it,” said Cassidy. “For me it’s a little bit about, let’s get Jaro – the whole team a day off – but Jaro a day off, get him back in there Friday and let’s be better in front of him. And fix our game more than worry about Dan. Like I said, Bob will critique that like he does with every goalie, the good and bad and then we’ll move forward.”