Islanders goalie Halak handles Devils
Makes 27 saves, Cizikas scores in 1-0 shutoutby David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer
NEWARK, N.J. -- According to the New York Islanders, they don't have a No. 1 goaltender. They have two.
On Friday, it was Jaroslav Halak's turn, and he made 27 saves starting for the first time in three games when the Islanders shut out the New Jersey Devils 1-0 at Prudential Center.
Halak allowed six goals and was pulled after two periods in his previous start, a 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 13. Thomas Greiss started the two previous games and won five in a row before a 3-2 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
"That is a luxury for us right now," said Islanders forward Casey Cizikas, who scored the goal Friday. "They both have come in this year and stood on their heads. For Jaro to have a bounce-back game like this tonight, it kind of shows his confidence in between the pipes. I thought he played an unbelievable game for us."
Video: NYI@NJD: Cizikas opens up the scoring for Islanders
It was his third shutout of the season and first since Oct. 26. Halak, who had two shutouts in his first four starts of the season, has 39 NHL shutouts, and is 2-0-1 allowing three goals in three games against the Devils this season.
"After a rough start, I wasn't feeling great, but you just have to forget about it," Halak said. "There's nothing you can do about the past. Obviously the game in Carolina wasn't the greatest by me or anybody, but it happens in hockey. ... I'm glad we won the game and a shutout was needed for me too."
Halak is 14-12-4 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. Greiss is 16-6-3 with a 2.19 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
Cizikas scored his sixth of the season 1:59 into the game on the Islanders' fifth shot. He has two goals and three assists in the past five games.
Defenseman Nick Leddy skated into the zone and took a shot from the left side that was saved by Cory Schneider. The rebound bounced off Cizikas' and went in the net. The play was reviewed but ruled a good goal.
Video: NYI@NJD: Halak keeps Devils from scoring in the 1st
"It was a puck that he is not trying to score, he is trying to create a rebound," Cizikas said. "I was just going hard to the net and was lucky enough for it to go off my pants and in."
The Devils had a good chance early in the third period with Adam Henrique passing to Lee Stempniak in front of the net, but Halak got his pad on the shot.
"I think Stempniak was surprised by the pass too," Halak said. "He was so close to me, so I was able to jump there and make the save. If he was a little further on the back door, I don't think I'd be able to get there."
New York (31-19-7), which began a seven-game road trip, shut out New Jersey in their previous game on Dec. 13. That 4-0 win was started by Greiss.
The Devils (29-23-7) lost their second game in a row following a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
Video: NYI!NJD: Tavares makes two saves, covers puck
"We played a good game. We played well," said Schneider, who made 23 saves. "It's disappointing we didn't get [the] result [we wanted]. ... I thought we were going to get [a goal]. We couldn't get one through."
New York moved four points ahead of New Jersey for third place in the Metropolitan Division and has two games in hand.
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk appeared to be injured late in the second period when he was hit into the boards by Devils forward Jordan Tootoo with 5:00 remaining. Boychuk got up holding his shoulder and skated to the dressing room, slamming his stick against the boards as he went off the ice. Boychuck, who missed five weeks with a shoulder injury before returning Feb. 6, played in the third period.
"It was a concern when you get a stinger and you just came back from a shoulder injury," Boychuk said. "It's kind of scary, but luckily I'm OK and just a little stiff."
Tootoo was assessed a five minute cross-checking penalty, which the Devils killed, and a game misconduct.
The Islanders continue their road trip Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. The Devils visit the Capitals on Saturday.
"All you can do is move on," Devils defenseman Andy Greene said. "In the end it's about winning games. You need to score goals to win games."