Halak to All-Star Game

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders had only been off the ice maybe 20 minutes when the news broke that Jaroslav Halak will be headed to the All-Star Game in Columbus. USATSI_8222429_110579513_lowres

Halak now joins Islanders’ captain John Tavares as the team’s second representative for the NHL’s All-Star festivities. The Islanders are the only team in the New York market that has the distinction of having two players headed to Columbus.

“It’s obviously a big honor to go to the All-Star Game,” Halak told reporters gathered around his stall after practice. “I’m really happy and I’m going to enjoy it. That’s for sure.”

The Islanders’ goaltender is certainly deserving of the distinction. Halak has lived up to the four-year deal he signed in the offseason, going 23-8-0 in 31 appearances this season. He is also coming off a 27-save shutout over the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

Halak was the first Islanders’ goaltender to shutout the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden since Billy Smith did it in 1975.

“It’s always a team effort,” Halak said. He has been quick to credit the play of his teammates throughout the season. “Obviously we have more guys here that deserve to go, but we’re not the ones who pick… It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to [All-Star Weekend].”

The news of Halak’s selection — he is taking Jimmy Howard’s spot — that some of Halak’s teammates had no idea he had been chosen to go. Matt Martin only found out when Islanders Point Blank asked him for a reaction to the news.

“I think he did a great job in the first half of the year to be named to the game initially,” Martin said. “It’s great to see him rewarded for the season he’s had so far. He’s the backbone of our hockey team and the big reason why we are where we are in the standings.”

Halak is the first Islanders’ goaltender to go to an All-Star Game since Rick DiPietro was selected in 2007-08.

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Islanders Point Blank Podcast: Butch Goring calls in

The Isles celebrate the end of the road trip with a Garden party! NHL.com’s Brian Compton and Christian Arnold of Islanders Point Blank break down the Isles’ win over the Rangers. Plus, Brian chats with Isles TV analyst Butch Goring (9:00) about the team’s impressive play and his thoughts on the move to Brooklyn.

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Halak makes history with Rangers road shutout

As the Islanders shut out the New York Rangers on the road at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night, Isles goalie Jaroslav Halak made franchise history.

Halak became just the second goalie for the Islanders to record a road shutout against the Rangers as they took a 3-0 victory over the home team (NHL, Jan. 13).

The last Islander to do so was Billy Smith on Dec. 17, 1975.

Doug Williams and Pat Leonard discuss Jaroslav Halak’s stellar play for the Islanders and the Rangers losing Derek Stepan to injury.

Isles win sets up for livelier game against Rangers in two weeks

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The hype was there for the Islanders and New York Rangers second meeting of the 2014-15 season, but aside from a tussle after the final buzzer there was no big game feel during the 60 minute affair at Madison Square Garden.

USATSI_8328786_110579513_lowresThe sold-out crowd did see a good game, and the pocket of Islander fans that made the trip to Manhattan left happy, but the true flair of Islanders versus Rangers wasn’t all there. Maybe the fisticuffs at the end were a primer for what is to come when the two teams do battle again on Long Island in two weeks.

The Nassau Coliseum is usually the livelier of the two venues and brings out the spirit of the Islanders, Rangers rivalry.

Wisely, the Islanders entered Tuesday’s game as even keeled as possible. The players and coaching staff understood what the rivalry means and the significance of what the two points meant in the standings, but they did not try to make the game out to be bigger than what it was.

And after the game, their celebration reflected that.

“When I was younger, my first couple of years, sometimes you get yourself overhyped for a game like this,” Matt Martin said. “That’s for the fans and the media to talk about. For us it’s just about playing the same way. You can’t look at it and make the game bigger than it is. It’s pretty simple and we play a simple, fast game. You keep playing that way and we’ll be successful.” To read more of this story, click here

Islanders shut out the Rangers 3-0 at MSG

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

NEW YORK — It’s not too often that audible “Let’s Go Islanders” chants break out at the end of an Islanders-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. But on Tuesday, they did for the second time this season as the final buzzer sounded on a 3-0 Isles win.NHL: New York Islanders at New York Rangers

The Islanders scored three goals in the second period and Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves to shut out the Rangers at the Garden for the first time since Billy Smith did it on Dec. 17, 1975. The win, in a game Rangers coach Alain Vigneault preemptively labeled a “New York Classic,” moved the Islanders into first place in the Eastern Conference, seven points ahead of the Rangers.

“It’s a good win,” Frans Nielsen said. “We knew they were going to come at us the first 10 minutes. We were lucky a couple times there. They couldn’t go like that all game, we knew that, we got more time and we worked our way in the game. We played perfect the last 40 minutes.” To read more of this story, click here

Game Recap: Islanders 3 — Rangers 0

Recap: The Islanders won decisively for their first shutout victory at Madison Square Garden since 1975.

Need to Know: The Islanders ended the Rangers’ five-game winning streak to take a 2-0 lead in the season series.

The Islanders’ Jaroslav Halak had 27 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and 34th of his career. . .Billy Smith had the previous Islanders shutout at the Garden 40 years ago.

After a scoreless first period, the Islanders dominated the second with three goals. Anders Lee, Nikolay Kulemin, and Frans Nielsen scored in an 11:30 span in the second.

Lee opened the scoring at 8:49, Kulemin scored at 16:31 and Nielsen added a shorthanded goal with with 41 seconds left in the period, when the Islanders outshot the Rangers, 19-12.

The Rangers pulled goalie Henrik Lundqvist (29 saves on 32 shots) in favor of Cam Talbot after the second intermission.

Early in the second period, the Islanders had a goal waved off after Casey Cizikas was called for goaltender interference on Cal Clutterbuck’s shot.

The Islanders have now won five of six at the Garden. . . .The Rangers had won 13 of 14 before Tuesday.

Lundqvist is 29-14-5 against the Islanders in his career. It’s the second-most victories against the Islanders by any goalie since 1987-88 (Martin Brodeur, 52).

The rivals’ next meeting is in two weeks at Nassau Coliseum (Jan. 27, 7 p.m.)

Links: AP recap | Box Score

What’s Next:  The Islanders return home after a seven-game road trip Friday to host Pittsburgh (7 p.m.).