Lucky bounce all Halak needs as Islanders shut out Devils
NEWARK, N.J. – A lucky carom on an early goal by a fourth-line center and a bounce-back effort by Jaroslav Halak in goal were all the New York Islanders needed to get a much-needed victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Casey Cizikas scored on a rebound off his leg early and a struggling Halak had 27 saves to lead the Islanders to a 1-0 victory over New Jersey on Friday night in the opener of a season-long, seven-game trip.
The Islanders are in third place in the Metropolitan Division, four points ahead of the fifth-place Devils with two games in hand.
"To win this game gives us a little bit of room," said Halak, who was 1-4 in his previous five games. "But any night from now on is going to be like this."
Halak was outstanding and had a little help from the post while getting his third shutout. Reid Boucher's 1-on-1 chance in the first period hit iron, but Halak also made great saves in close against Sergey Kalinin, Kyle Palmieri and Lee Stempniak, the last one a pad save early in the third period when the Devils forward had a seemingly open net.
"Halak came up huge for us tonight," Cizikas said. "… He basically kept us in the game. He made some huge saves when we needed him to."
The Islanders, don't play again until Thursday night against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
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• BIG FOR BUFFALO: Jamie McGinn scored twice and Robin Lehner stopped 38 shots for his third career shutout to lead Buffalo over host Columbus 4-0.