TORONTO, ONTARIO – AUGUST 23: Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Boston Bruins stops a shot against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 23, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Getty Images
Overtime was short enough the game itself wasn’t too taxing and Jaroslav Halak felt good enough Tuesday night and Wednesday morning that Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy is sticking with his 35-year-old veteran goalie in Game 3 (8 p.m. Scotiabank Arena, Toronto) of Boston’s best of seven series against the Lightning.
“Halak is scheduled to start,” said Cassidy ho said the goalie had skipped the optional morning skate.. “He’s recovered well. That’s the plan.”
Tuesday was Halak’s first loss in the playoff after winning three straight in the first round and Game 1. He did suffer the defeat in the first of the round robin seeding games, a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Overall in the postseason (seeding games plus playoffs) he’s 4-2 with a 2.50 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. In his postseason career he’s 17-17 with a 2.41 GAA and a .923 save percentage with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Bruins.
He was 18-6-6 with a 2.39 GAA and .919 save percentage in 2019-20 before the pandemic pause.
Cassidy said he was still contemplating lineup changes among his skaters. Without specifying who, he said there was a forward who’d be a game-time decision for health reasons.
Whether or not that forward was available he said he was considering dressing a seventh defenseman instead of 12 forwards to take some of the physical burden off his blueliners.
“We’ve contemplated that going into the second of a back to back,” Cassidy said. “Back to back games, for some guys that’s a heavier workload. (Charlie) McAvoy was over 25 minutes. We have a few smaller guys. It’s been a physical series for them. Save a little wear and tear and put some fresh legs in there.”
“He played some forward in Providence so he could pinch hit up there if something were to happen,” Cassidy said.
In the opposing locker room, the Lightning will be without Ryan McDonagh for the second straight game. He was injured in Game 1 and missed Tampa Bay’s 4-3 overtime in Game 2.
McDonagh led Tampa in time on ice at 26:06 through the three round robin seeding games, the first round and Game 1. That was up from 20:42 during the regular season.
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