After giving up five goals on 32 shots, pundits were quick to jump on goaltender Jaroslav Halak. For those of you in need of an algebra tune up, his save percentage breaks down like this;
5 goals / 32 shots = x / 100
32 shots times x = 500
500 divided by 32 = 15.625, which = x
Take 100 (shots faced) and subtract 15.625 (avg amount of goals that went in if his shot total were rounded up to 100) and you have a save percentage of 84.375%. www.nhl.com rounded it up to 84.4%. For pee wee or bantam hockey, that wouldn’t be bad, but in the NHL, anything below 90%, or more likely 91.5% is considered sub-par for the greatest league in the world. So when looking at the numbers, it is easy to say “Halak is fighting the puck” or “Halak is not what he’s cracked up to be.”
Although the numbers don’t lie, Legwand’s goal that put Nashville up two to one in the third period came off of a deflection off Blues defenseman Nikita Nikitin’s right knee. Halak was square to the shooter and wasn’t too far back in his net. Unless he was already in front of the puck, it was going to go in. Even Waah wouldn’t have stopped that in the 90’s. The game winner by Klein came as Nikitin had accidentally screened Halak. Halak was square to the shooter, until Chris Stewart and Nikitin blocked his visual path which is by no coincidence, when Kevin Klein wristed a shot over Halak for the game winner. I personally give credit to Klein for sidestepping Chris Stewart and waiting until he had a perfect screen and putting the puck in an area the size of a lava lamp.
Although a win is a win and a loss is a loss, I can’t put the blame on Halak for those. Legwand’s luck and Klein’s skill were the deciding factors. With a light schedule for the next three weeks of the season, I expect Halak to get the majority of the starts and shake off whatever rust he may have accumulated.
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Written by Patrick McLellan