After Jake Debrusk came off the COVID Protocol Related Absences list yesterday, the Boston Bruins had a clean slate and everyone available to them. No more, as according to Amalie Benjamin of NHL.com, Jaroslav Halak has tested positive for coronavirus. That will put him into the protocol whether or not it is determined to be a false positive down the line, meaning he won’t be available tonight. As Benjamin points out, Dan Vladar was expected to start anyway, but will now likely have Jeremy Swayman backing up.
Halak, 35, has been his dependable self this season, posting a .910 save percentage in 17 appearances. That’s actually more work and better results than Tuukka Rask, who has been dealing with various injuries almost the whole year. Halak has been one of the most reliable goaltenders in the league for his whole career, only posting a season save percentage under .908 once since his rookie year in 2006-07. You can’t ask much more from a backup goaltender.
That, in addition to the fact that Rask is still unavailable, makes this absence concerning for the Bruins. If Halak misses substantial time, Boston will have to hope that Vladar can hold the fort. Benjamin reports that Rask will not play tonight or tomorrow but is expected to travel with the team on the three-game road trip.