Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak battles for the puck in front of Capitals players in Game 7 Monday in Washington. (Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jaroslav Halak has given the Islanders stability and consistency in goal this season. And in Game 7 Monday against the Capitals, he gave them one of the best saves of his career by kicking his right pad out in desperation to stop Washington's Jay Beagle after a strange carom of the puck off the end boards.
Although Detroit's Petr Mrazek made one of the saves of the year Monday against Tampa Bay, it may not even be the save of the night, because, after a crazy bounce of the puck, Islanders netminder Jaroslav Halak lunged across his crease to stop what looked like a sure goal for Washington's Jay Beagle in Game 7 of their first-round series Monday.
The teams were tied at a goal apiece in the deciding game when Capitals defenseman John Carlson shot the puck into the Isles' zone from just inside the center ice line. But the puck caromed oddly off the end boards and bounced out to Beagle, who fired it directly at the net, and Halak – who had been moving around the far side of his net in anticipation of stopping it – had to kick out his right pad in desperation to stop it from going in:
The Capitals got the go-ahead goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov late in the third period and hung on to eliminate the Isles with a 2-1 victory, but Halak gave the team stability in net and a chance to win almost every night this season. The franchise needed that – and they'll need him playing this well next year in Brooklyn.