Player of the Week – April 5, 2010

The Hockey News player of the week for the period of March 29-April 4 is Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

In the thick of the playoff race, the Canadiens started the week with a loss as Carey Price took to the net, so when Halak was returned to the crease April 2 against Philadelphia the team’s playoff lives were at stake.

In a tightly fought contest against a team they were tied at 82 points with, Halak turned aside all 35 Flyer shots in Philadelphia, earning his fourth shutout of the season in a slim 1-0 win that put the Habs sixth in the conference.

The very next night the Canadiens returned to Montreal to face their divisional rivals and the leaders of the Northeast, Buffalo.

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In another hard-fought contest, Halak faced 29 shots and again turned aside every one for the first back-to-back shutout performance of his career. With the 3-0 win Montreal moved up to 86 points, four clear of the ninth-placed New York Rangers.

The Habs, 39-32-8, sit sixth in the Eastern Conference with three games to play. Halak, who has taken the No. 1 job from Price, has a 26-12-3 record on the season to go along with an impressive 2.31 GAA, .927 SP and five shutouts.

Both Halak and Price are restricted free agents July 1.