Boston Bruins goalie Jaro Halak had an epic and old school Tuukka Rask meltdown after he and the Bruins blew two one-goal leads in the third period and eventually lost 4-3 in overtime of the regular-season series finale with the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night.
After surrendering the overtime winner to New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha 2:42 into overtime, Jaro Halak did his best imitation of the epic Rask meltdown when Rask was playing for the Providence Bruins. After failing to completely annihilate slamming his stick off the crossbar, Jaro Halak skated off the ice and then broke his stick off the stanchion by the entrance to the runway to the Bruins dressing room. Then for good measure, he kicked a stool on the bench before heading to the dressing room.
Jaro Halak is PISSED pic.twitter.com/WjGZaQhBN6
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) May 5, 2021
The scene brought back memories of this masterpiece of a meltdown by Rask while playing for the P-Bruins during the 2008-09 season but couldn’t quite match the theatrics of Rask then.
That was Rask’s last season in the AHL before sticking with the Bruins and in the NHL for good the following season. Ironically, it appears more and more likely that Halak could be on the opposite end of his time with the Boston Bruins. This was Halak’s first start since April 3 and while the Bruins defense hung him out to dry at times, he couldn’t come up with enough timely stops and allowed four goals on 21 shots. In a season hampered by an extended stay on the NHL COVID Protocol List, Halak has never been able to gain traction and get in a groove.
With the emergence of rookie phenom Jeremy Swayman and the chance of him, not Jaro Halak, backing up Rask in the Stanley Cup Playoffs seeming more and more likely, Halak’s frustration wasn’t just from this game but the big picture that the 35-year-old may not be extended and become an unrestricted free agent in July. Prior to the loss Tuesday night, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said that he and his staff would use this game and potentially another start for Jaro Halak to see where his game is at for the playoffs.
“Jaro is going to start tonight. We had a discussion about Jaro versus Swayman, and [goalie coach Bob Essensa] said that [Halak] got his work in and he’s ready to go,” Cassidy Tuesday morning. “So that’s the direction we’re going to go tonight. Tuukka is probably going to play two more games…home games. After that, we’ll sort out who is going to get what game. Let’s see how Jaro does tonight first and foremost to see where his game is at. We know that Tuukka is on his game and we know that Swayman has played well for us. We’ll see where they fit in after [Rask].”
After another average start at best for Halak, it looks like Swayman will be the goalie they fit on the bench for the postseason if Jaro Halak doesn’t get another start and deliver. If this was it for Halak in Boston, at least it’s the meltdown and not the softies he let in Tuesday that will be remembered.