After a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak continues his career year by setting the franchise mark in wins.
For the New York Islanders, their rise to prominence and magical season keeps on trucking along. More evidence of this notion came after they quickly answered the New York Rangers attempt to take over the division with a feisty 2-1 victory over a tough Calgary Flames team Friday night.
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The Isles have rightfully taken back the spot which has belonged to them virtually the entire season: first place in the Metropolitan Division.
For goaltender Jaroslav Halak, his fortunes mirror that of his employer.
When general manager Garth Snow acquired the career journeyman from the Washington Capitals in exchange of a fourth-round pick, he probably couldn’t even have expected the results he’s seen.
While the blueprint for Halak was to un-tap that potential many thought the 29-year old possessed, this season simply has to stun even Snow the architect.
Feb 27, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save in front of Calgary Flames left wing Jiri Hudler (24) and New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
On Friday night Halak broke the Islanders franchise mark for wins in a season with 33, and New York still has 19 games remaining on the schedule.
Not even can Conn Smythe winner and Stanley Cup Champion Billy Smith compete with the roll Halak is on right now.
Prior to the season, his career high in wins was 29 last season as he split time with St. Louis and Washington. His current goals against average is 2.49 and he has a .910 save percentage.
While there have been different spots in his career that has seen him put up numbers like this, the point is he hasn’t found a real home until this season.
He is truly now a New York Islander.
The missing pieces to championship lineup were solved over the offseason. Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk were acquired to completely solidify a real defense, and Halak was brought in to represent a real championship goalie.
The time is now for the Isles and their goaltender who’s been a career journeyman, and who has always deserved a permanent home yet could never find one.
From crazed hockey towns suck as Montreal and St. Louis, to our Nation’s Capital in Washington DC, Halak is now a Long Islander.