Of all the additions the Islanders have made over the last eight or nine months, the biggest might have been their first.
Jaroslav Halak was named the NHL's First Star of the Week today after posting a 3-0-0 record with a shutout last week. He has 12 wins, a .926 save percentage and three shutouts this season, including a career-best nine-game winning streak.
It's hard to call Halak an "offseason acquisition" since he was locked up before last season even ended. The Islanders acquired him for a fourth-round pick from Washington on May 1st and signed him to a four-year contract 21 days later.
Without Halak's heroics this season, the Islanders would not be tied for the lead in the Metropolitan Division. Not only has his play been leaps and bounds above what the Islanders have been skating by on for the past few seasons, but his calm demeanor in the crease seems to be helping the team on a subconscious level, too.
On Saturday, Halak was the only Islander standing up to a third period onslaught by the New Jersey Devils. His team, gassed from their sixth game in nine nights, needed him to save their asses and keep the points coming and that's exactly what he did.
And when it did, Halak was in position. He was, in the words of the goalie coaches, "quiet" in goal -- not many exaggerated movements. Especially in the hectic third period, Halak was able to smother a lot of shots to keep the frenzy in front of him to a minimum.
"He was like Velcro out there. Everything stuck to him," said de Haan, who blocked a team-high five shots and undressed Jagr to set up his own shot that became Clutterbuck's eventual winner. "You know they're going to make plays and get opportunities. When we've got a goalie like Jaro to back us up and make those saves, it's huge."
Tampa Bay's Ryan Callahan and Calgary goalie Karri Ramo were the NHL's other Stars of the week.