Calgary’s Michael Ferland took possession of the idle puck at the center faceoff circle and skated toward his right. Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak crept outside the crease and slowly skated his way back in, his eyes locked in on Ferland, who didn’t attempt any fancy dekes. He simply skated inward near the edge of the right circle and attempted a shot to Halak’s stick side.
Halak, the first-year Islander who has brought long-sought stability in net for the club, made the save on the first-period penalty shot with aplomb and went on to record his 33rd win in a 2-1 Islanders victory over the Flames Friday night at Nassau Coliseum. The win sets a single-season franchise record. Halak was previously tied with Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro. “It feels good, obviously,” Halak said. “But I wasn’t chasing any records or anything. I just wanted to win the game.”
In extending his career-high for wins in a season, Halak made 26 saves as the Islanders (41-20-2, 84 points) took back first place in the Metropolitan Division from the Rangers. With the Isles already leading,1-0, defenseman Johnny Boychuk mishandled a pass in the offensive zone and Ferland stole the puck. Boychuk chased him on the breakaway and hooked Ferland as he closed in on Halak for a shot attempt. A penalty shot was signaled with 6:20 left in the first, but Halak bailed Boychuk out and kept Calgary (33-25-4, 70 points) off the board. “You don’t want to give up a penalty shot early in the game, but I was able to stay with him and make the save,” said Halak, who will likely sit Saturday against Carolina. “He didn’t do too much on it, just shot it.”
Coach Jack Capuano thought the save set the tone for the rest of the game. “Right off the bat, you look at the game and where it was, to me he comes down and makes a big save,” he said. “It gives you a lift.”
Ryan Strome scored his 14th goal of the season on a power play two minutes before the penalty shot. John Tavares had two shot attempts denied, and a clearance attempt by Lance Bouma went Strome’s way, providing an easy chance. Cal Clutterbuck had a goal waved off with 15:35 left in the third after it was deemed Brock Nelson made contact with goalie Karri Ramo, but Clutterbuck would tally an empty-netter with 41.3 seconds left. Josh Jooris broke the shutout with 20.9 seconds left.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.