The NHL announced Thursday that Halak, fresh off a 27-save shutout over the New York Rangers, was named to the All-Star Game, joining John Tavares as the Isles two representatives next weekend in Columbus.
“It’s obviously a big honor to go to the All-Star Game,” Halak said. “I’m really happy and I’m going to enjoy it, that’s for sure. I have a good record as a goalie, but you need the five guys in front of you to do the job to or else I wouldn’t be going there.”
The honor is well-deserved for the Islanders netminder, who is 23-8-0 this season with four shutouts. Halak is the first Islanders goaltender to be selected to the All-Star Game since Rick DiPietro in 2007-08. It’s yet another milestone on a growing list of records and accolades that Halak has earned this season. He set a franchise record with 11 straight wins from Nov. 5 - Dec. 4, picked up the Islanders’ first shutout at Madison Square Garden since 1975 and is nine wins shy of the Isles all-time single-season record.
“Before the season started, I don’t think anyone was looking at records or this and that,” Halak said. “I am not trying to break any records, I’m just trying to go out and have fun, help the guys win the game.”
Halak’s statistics (23-8-0, 2.22 goals against average, .917 save percentage, four shutouts) are nearly identical to his numbers last year in St. Louis (24-9-4, 2.23 GAA, .917 SV%, four shutouts). He’s played at a high level for the majority of his NHL career, but the all-star game hasn’t been played in three of the past five seasons. Next weekend will mark Halak’s first all-star appearance.
“Jaro is a determined guy, he’s very focused and a leader for our hockey club,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “It’s a well-deserved honor for him.”
Halak said his game doesn’t feel different this season, but that his head is clear and he’s enjoying himself on the ice.
“I’m just having fun, that’s all it is,” he said. “I’m not trying to think too much when I give up a bad goal or lose a game, I’m just trying to go out there and enjoy the moment.”
Certainly, there will be plenty of moments for Halak to enjoy among the stars in Columbus next weekend.