Teetering on edge of wild-card spot, Bruins will need Jaroslav Halak to stem tide

Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire

Few could have predicted the level of production that Jaroslav Halak has generated in net during his first season with the Bruins. But in that same vein, could one really expect for the veteran goalie to maintain this level of play for the whole season?

Halak — a solid NHL netminder with career marks of a .916 save percentage and a .240 goals-against average — has kept Boston afloat in the early stages of the 2018-19 season — posting a 4-0-2 record with a .947 save percentage in October to offset a slow start from Tuukka Rask.

As a whole, Halak has more than exceeded what many expected from him as Boston’s next backup — continuing to string together strong performances into November with a 4-3-0 record and a .928 save percentage.

Since then, however, Halak has seen his numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction — with the goalie 1-2-0 in December with a less-than-stellar .883 save percentage and a 4.04 goals-against average.

After posting two shutouts and only three goals allowed once in his first six games as a member of the Bruins, Halak has relinquished four or more tallies in four of his last 10 appearances.

Now, Halak was never expected to be a Vezina contender in his first year with Boston, but it's tough to ignore the downward trend in his numbers as the pages on the calendar flip.

Still, even with his numbers dipping, Halak will have to be counted on once again as Boston’s security blanket on Monday — with the veteran getting the nod in net against Montreal up at the Bell Centre.