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Halak sets Islanders record with win against Flames

by David Satriano

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves to win his 33rd game of the season, setting a New York Islanders record with a 2-1 victory against the Calgary Flames at Nassau Coliseum on Friday.

Halak is 33-13-0 and broke a tie with Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro. Smith won 32 games during the 1981-82 season; Osgood did in 2001-02, and DiPietro in 2006-07.

"I wasn't chasing any record," Halak said. "I just wanted to win the game. … I wanted to have a shutout. I got a win so that was a good thing."

Halak was 21 seconds from his fifth shutout of the season, but Josh Jooris scored with Flames goalie Karri Ramo pulled for an extra attacker.

Cal Clutterbuck scored an empty-net goal 21 seconds prior to that to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead on a shot that deflected off Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman.

"Obviously we would have loved to get a shutout for him, that would have been real special, but he played solid again, and to do something like that is obviously very significant and he deserves that," Islanders captain John Tavares said.

New York (41-20-2) took a 1-0 lead 11:39 into the first period when Ryan Strome scored a power-play goal. Tavares took a shot from the slot that was stopped by Ramo, but the rebound bounced to Strome, who scored his 14th goal of the season.

Tavares has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in his past eight games.

The Flames had not allowed a power-play goal in a franchise-best 13 straight games and had killed 26 consecutive penalties.

"We knew it was going to be a tight game and we got one early," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.

The win gave the Islanders a two-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division over the New York Rangers, who have three games in hand.

Calgary had a chance to tie the game when forward Michael Ferland was sprung on a breakaway at 13:40 of the first. New York defenseman Johnny Boychuk got his stick between Ferland's legs before he could get off a clean shot, and he was awarded a penalty shot. Ferland took a wrist shot that was stopped by Halak.

"Right off the bat, you look at the game and where it was, and to me, he makes a big save, and what that does is it gives you a lift," Capuano said.

Calgary (33-25-4) played without defenseman Mark Giordano, who missed his first game of the season after sustaining an upper-body injury in a 3-1 win at the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. Giordano, who leads NHL defenseman with 48 points, took part in warm-ups but was scratched.

"He wanted to try and the medical staff was OK with it," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "He is our captain. He is a warrior. He wants to play. We put him on the ice because there was a certain percentage of chance that he could be in the lineup."

Without Giordano, Flames defensemen Dennis Wideman played 30:24, TJ Brodie played 29:06, and Kris Russell played 28:21.

"I think whenever someone goes down, everyone has to step up and find that extra level in their game," Brodie said. "We don't really know what's going on as far as he's going, but it's one of those things where we have to wait and see.

"He's a guy that wants to play every night. … Especially with the season he's having, it's tough to see a guy like that out of the lineup."

Clutterbuck appeared to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead at 4:25 of the third period but the goal was waved off because forward Brock Nelson made contact with Ramo in the crease.

Ramo kept the Flames in the game with 37 saves, facing double-digit shots in each period (15,11,13).

"I think we played good but it's not enough right now," Ramo said.

The Flames, 1-2-0 on a seven-game road trip, visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. Calgary is one point behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

The Islanders, 2-1-0 on their four-game homestand, host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

"You have to play well and play games like we did tonight in order to put together good homestands," Clutterbuck said. "I think from start to finish was pretty good for us."


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