OTTAWA, Ontario — After the Ottawa Senators honored longtime former captain Daniel Alfredsson, they were done in by Jaroslav Halak and the surging New York Islanders.
Halak made 20 saves in his franchise-record 11th straight victory, and the Islanders held on for a 2-1 win over the Senators on Dec. 4.
Halak, 14-4 in his first season with the Islanders, broke the record held by Hall of Fame goalie Billy Smith, set in 1982.
“It’s always nice, but I would say I’m not here to chase any records or anything,” Halak said. “I’m here to have fun, play hockey and try to help the guys win the game.”
Casey Cizikas scored the winner for the surging Islanders (19-7), and Brock Nelson also scored. New York has won eight of nine and 13 of 15. Halak has allowed only 14 goals during his streak
Mika Zibanejad scored the lone goal for Ottawa, which has lost four straight — including both games in a home-and-home series with New York.
“After one loss you’ve got some concern,” Ottawa’s Chris Neil said. “You want to win as many games as possible, but right now we’re just finding ways to lose games.”
Craig Anderson stopped 23 shots. He has lost his last five starts for the first time since an eight-game skid from Jan. 21-Feb. 11, 2012. He was unavailable for comment after the game.
“It’s very disappointing not to win that game with the hype and energy that we had out there,” alternate captain Chris Phillips said.
Alfredsson, who announced his retirement Dec. 4, took part in the pregame warmup and bid his final farewell to a sold-out crowd of 20,511.
“I still think the day was what it is, and it was a great day,” Senators Captain Erik Karlsson said. “That was the positive of the day.
“We didn’t win the game, and that’s not fun, and that’s a separate situation from the other one and I don’t think either of them are going to overshadow the other one.”
This was the Senators’ second straight loss to the Islanders, who beat them 3-2 in overtime on Dec. 2. Halak was instrumental in both games, although the Senators rarely tested him Thursday with just nine shots through two periods.
“I think the last two nights (Halak) would be the first to tell you I thought we did a pretty good job,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We didn’t give him much (to face) through two periods, and the last game we didn’t give the opposition too much.
“To me, you’ve got to stay focused, and he’s doing that. It’s great to see him break the record and he deserves it.”
The Islanders took the lead at 13:33 of the third when Thomas Hickey made a cross-ice pass to Cizikas, who beat Anderson with a one-timer.
Special teams were the difference in the second period as both teams scored with the man advantage.
Both teams failed to score in the first period.
“Overall we played pretty solid, and (Anderson) gave us a chance to win the game, but we just couldn’t get the puck in the net,” Karlsson said. “That’s frustrating sometimes, but at least we played well for most of the 60 minutes. We just have to build off that.”
The Islanders opened the scoring at 11:45 as Nelson took a great pass from Frans Nielsen behind the net to beat Anderson for a power-play goal.
The Senators made the most of a two-man advantage to tie it. With Nelson already in the penalty box, Brian Strait took a high-sticking penalty.
Karlsson and Zibanejad played give-and-go before Zibanejad rifled a shot through Halak’s pads at 15:07.
Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot played his first game of the season after missing the first 24 games with a lower body injury. “I was pretty happy with my game,” Methot said. “I just kept it simple and I didn’t try to do anything too fancy.”