After the Calgary Flames obtained Dougie Hamilton in the offseason, they looked like they were only going to get better as their blue-line grew into what seemed like a top-tier unit. That hasn't been the case for the 2-7-0 Flames. Those struggles followed them to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Monday night. Jaroslav Halak, in his fourth start, made off with his second shut out of the season. Frans Nielsen potted his second and third goals of the year to help carry the New York Islanders to their sixth win and fourth at home.
In a scoreless first period, the Islanders held the play and ended up outshooting the Flames fourteen to eight. Casey Cizikas had the best chance of the period with just over five and a half minutes left on a shot that beat Joni Ortio, but not the cross bar. New York finally broke the scoreless tie on a Mikhail Grabovski power play goal, his second goal of the year. The power play came from a Dougie Hamilton shot that cleared the glass and drew a two minute minor for delay of game. Grabovski ripped a shot from between the circles that beat Ortio clean and put the Flames behind the eight ball. Each team ended with ten shots each in the second period.
Halak went to work early and preserved his shutout by getting his pad across the net to stop Mark Giordano from the left circle on a cross ice feed. Frans Nielsen stretched the lead to two nothing on a shot from the right circle that found its way by Ortio. Roughly six minutes later, Cal Clutterbuck buried his third goal of the season. Clutterbuck let go a wrist shot from the slot after a fantastic play along the boards by Cizikas who out muscled Flames defensemen Kris Russell. Cizikas then found Clutterbuck in the slot and he made no mistake. With 1:50 remaining in the third period Kyle Okposo recieved a cross ice feed from Nikolay Kulemin off of a rebound he then sent on net. Nielsen got a piece of it for his second of the game. The goal was originally credited to Okposo but was later changed.
The Islanders have killed off 21 straight penalties and kept the Flames off the board, holding them scoreless on three power play opportunities. They lead the NHL with a penalty kill efficiency of 91.7 percent. Calgary looks to right the ship on Wednesday in Ottawa, their fourth and final stop on this four game road trip. A promising year last year hasn't carried over for them as they keep getting left farther and farther behind in the cut throat Western Conference. The Islanders look to build off of this win and Halak's great start on Thursday when they play host to another struggling team, the Carolina Hurricanes (2-6-0).