The Islanders needed a big game from one of their struggling goalies against a dangerous Capitals offense, and Jaroslav Halak stepped up big in the team's 3-1 win Monday night.
Head coach Doug Weight has said that he wanted to help his goalies in Halak and Thomas Greiss figure what has forced them to be inconsistent so far this season. He also didn't care that many were confused as to why Halak was getting his third straight start.
"I feel good about both our goalies," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "No one else does. I don't really care."
Halak backed up his coach's decision as he posted 31 saves, which included point-blank shots from the Capitals most dangerous threat in Alex Ovechkin. It was a performance the Islanders desperately needed after posting a 1-3-1 record in their last five games.
"Sometimes you need the results to get that extra confidence," Josh Bailey said about Halak. "He made some really quality saves at the right times. He was on his game."
It also helped that the Islanders got off to a hot start on offense. They got their lead up to three after Andrew Ladd and John Tavares both scored in the beginning minutes of the second period.
"We talked about it and we've been outshot in the first the last few games," Halak said. "We did a better job for the most part and we came out and got the huge goals early in the second."
The Islanders were strong around the net with all three goals coming in front of Capitals G Braden Holtby. Tavares said the team wanted to be more aggressive around the crease, and they certainly achieved that on Monday.
"It's hard for your goalies when they're facing second and third opportunities," he said. "I thought we were a lot tougher around our net. We didn't let them have much. Nothing was easy."
At the end of the day, though, the play by Halak was what Weight and the rest of the team has been looking for from one of their goalies.
"It's such a tough position. All eyes are on you, and if you're not at the top of your game, it's going to be evident," Weight said. "Jaro was a huge percentage of this win. And that's refreshing."