PHILADELPHIA – The Capitals have acquired the goaltender that gave them nightmares in the 2010 playoffs.
Pressed up against the 3 p.m. trade deadline, Capitals general manager George McPhee rolled the dice by acquiring Jaroslav Halak and a third-round draft pick in 2015 from the Buffalo Sabres for goaltender Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla.
Halak is expected to supplant Braden Holtby as the Caps’ No. 1 goalie, making for an interesting situation for Holtby, who is scheduled to face the Flyers at the WellsFargoCenter tonight.
Halak, 28, was traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Sabres on Friday, but he did not play in a game for the Sabres.
In 40 games for the Blues this season, Halak went 24-9-4 with a 2.23 GAA and .917 save percentage. He has a career playoff record of 10-11 with a 2.42 GAA and .923 save percentage.
Halak currently sits ninth among NHL goaltenders in wins, 10th in goals-against average and third in shutouts .
Through his eight NHL seasons in Montreal and St. Louis, Halak has played in 260 career NHL games, earning a 139-81-26 record with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Additionally, Halak has appeared in 23 career playoff games with Montreal and St. Louis, posting a record of 10-11-0 with a 2.42 goals-against average and a ..923 save percentage. Halak’s career shootout save percentage of .711 ranks ninth among active goaltenders with at least 25 career shootouts.
Caps fans will remember Halak most for his incredible performance against them in the first round of the 2010 playoffs, when he led the Montreal Canadiens to a seven-game victory over the heavily favored Caps.
The Capitals took a three games to one lead in that series, but Halak turned aside 131 of Washington's 134 shots in Games 5, 6 and 7 to pull of the upset.
Halak is in the final year of a $3.75 million contract.
Neuvirth, 25, had another year remaining on a two-year deal with a cap hit of $2.5 million. Klesla, acquired on Tuesday in the Dustin Penner trade, is in the final year of a contract that carries a $2.975 million cap hit.
In 13 games for the Caps this season Neuvirth went 4-6-2 record with a 2.85 GAA and a .914 save percentage.