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It was May 6, 2010. Evgeni Nabokov was pulled for the San Jose Sharks after giving up five goals in the first period. Thomas Greiss, his backup, gave up two goals on 28 shots for the rest of the game, a 7-1 loss in the Western Conference semifinals.
And that, friends, is the sum total of Greiss’s playoff experience.
If this is a cause for concern for the New York Islanders, there’s no better option. Coach Jack Capuano revealed on Tuesday that Jaroslav Halak will likely miss the first round series against the Florida Panthers with a lingering lower-body injury. Halak has appeared in 30 Stanley Cup playoff games.
Here’s the thing with Greiss: The 30-year-old goalie was as good or better than Halak this season, with a .925 save percentage and a 2.36 GAA in 41 games. The Islanders arguably played better in front of him, too, as one of the stories of their season was the goal support Greiss received that Halak didn’t.
But there’s no doubt that the Islanders were at their best this season when both goalies were healthy, and there’s no doubt that having Halak’s experience to fall back on would have been an asset.
Peter Botte of the Daily News notes that Halak is skating and could come back late in this series, but it would take some weird circumstance – like blowing a 3-1 lead in the series, for example – to have a goalie that’s been out since early March jump back into a playoff series that late.
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