Jaroslav Halak helping to keep Capitals in playoff hunt

Ian McLaren
Kelvin Kuo / USA TODAY Sports

In early February, Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee named goaltending as a key area in which the team needed to improve

Prior to the NHL trade deadline, McPhee pulled the trigger on a deal that saw Jaroslav Halak come to town, and he has indeed been providing the Capitals with above-average goaltending as the team looks to jump into a playoff spot.

After Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks - in which he stopped 43 of 45 shots - Halak has posted a record of 4-2-0 and has stopped 188 of 202 shots in six games, good for a .931 save percentage.

One of those saves against the Ducks was made in impression fashion.

"[Halak] certainly knows what he’s doing and he’s been huge for us so far,” defenseman John Carlson told the Washington Post. “Can’t complain with that.”

With 12 games left, the Capitals sit two points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets for fourth, and four points back of the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. They have a 20.9 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Washington's next game is Thursday against the Kings, a game in which Halak will once again have to be at his best in order for the Capitals to escape from Los Angeles with a win.