The Islanders goalie was hurt with about five minutes remaining in the game after a backwards split save, and back-up Thomas Greiss entered to hold off Pittsburgh (with a little help from Travis Hamonic) and secure the win. The team had no updates immediately following the game, but during his pre-game address before tonight's game in Toronto, coach Jack Capuano delivered the bad news: no Halak for at least six weeks.
Capuano: Greiss in goal, same skaters.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 9, 2016
"It's a big loss for our team," Jack Capuano says of Halak injury. Thomas Greiss will take #NYI into playoffs.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 9, 2016
Arthur Staple of Newsday goes into even further detail, basically saying the Islanders would need to go on a deep run before Halak could possibly return.
Halak does not need surgery, injury timeline is 6-8 weeks. Given that's well into the postseason, can't see him returning mid-2nd round.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 9, 2016
Halak is 18-13-4 (including Tuesday's win) with a .919 save percentage this season and had been just about the only Islander to play well on their recent swing through Alberta. He had twice missed time this season: sitting out the team's first few games with an undisclosed injury, then getting placed on IR in late December with an upper body injury. Halak set the team's regular season wins record with 38 last season.
The opening stretch of missed games gave new back-up Greiss time to show what he could do and all he did was run with it all season. He currently leads the NHL with a .930 save percentage and is 18-6-3. He and Halak had already basically been splitting time, but the job is now Greiss' until Halak returns.
Also moving up the depth chart is Jean-Francois Berube, who was picked up via waivers from the Kings when Halak went down before the season. A Calder Cup champion in the AHL last year, he's 1-1 in his first two NHL starts and has mainly been biding his time in the press box (save for a 4-0 conditioning stint in Bridgeport) all season. The Islanders didn't want to put him on waivers to send him to the AHL full time in a move that now looks prudent if not slightly morbid.
And what was Thomas Greiss doing after that game was cancelled? Helping stranded Long Island motorists get their cars unstuck from the snow.
Let's hope he's got enough tow rope to pull the Islanders into the playoffs.