It took until the very end of the 2 1/2 hour series finale for Dr. Jack of LOST to realize he was dead (sorry if you haven't watched your Tivo yet), and it took about the same amount of time for the Philadelphia Flyers to convince the Canadiens Jaroslav Halak his run was over Monday. The 4-2 score after an empty net goal was the final stroke, but let's face it, fewer understood how Montreal got past #1 and #2 seeds Washington and Pittsburgh than why Kate said, "We'll be out front when you're ready to go."
An appropriate analogy might be something buried in Dr. Jack Shephard's tattoo (Season 3), that "he walks among us, but he is not like us." Halak's final playoff numbers (9-9 record, 2.55 GAA) seem somehow wrong (he was 26-13, 2.40 GAA, .924 save percentage in regular season) when he was always making the big save, like getting a glove on Sergei Gonchar's breakaway in Pittsburgh or holding Crosby and Malkin to a combined four points in seven games. From the time Oceanic Flight 815 broke apart and slammed into that gorgeous island Jack was the lynchpin to all that happened, and if he didn't acknowledge the fact he didn't deserve to be grinding along against Others, polar bears or evil black smoke, Halak was equally oblivious to all the rubber thrown his way during the 2010 Stanley Cup. Both get the highest accolades for being consistently righteous.
You can make a case for a shot-blocking defense (P.K. Subban, take a bow!) being as sturdy-necessary as the studly Sawyer, or Cammilleri's timely goal scoring being as delightful as Kate's greenish eyes, occasional swim scenes or punch outs of bad guys, but no 'Doc' Halak, no fairly glorious end to an 7th place regular season finish for the Canadiens. When he stopped 131 of 135 down the stretch in the Capitals series to literally drag them from 'dead' to the next round, thats the guy we'll remember for a long time. Sort of like Jack having been the oldest brother on 'Party of Five'...yes, its on his resume, but what we *CARE* about was his being a hero all the way to the end on LOST.
You can't blame Halak for not believing he was a goner long ago either--when he was handling forty or so 'problems' a night, the man was simply doing everything in his power to prevent a cast of relative unknowns from leaving the Stanley Cup life. Bottom line, he brought a flood of memories about past championships back to the (new) Forum. He won't be part of any great light that shines on the Flyers and Blackhawks during the Finals, but like Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, Kwon, Hurley, Said, we appreciate all those great moments provided along the way.
Oh, and these playoffs won't be the same 'stick a fork in him, he's done'; more like "too bad its over, but thankfully there's going to be a sequel in 2011."