Just over a month and five years into the start of his Rangers career, Jarrow Halik has yet to win a match. But the 37-year-old veteran of 17 seasons in the NHL has gone undefeated in frustration with his 0-4-1 run.
Incredibly, he is the first Blueshirts goaltender to go winless in at least his first five games since Gil Fillmore began his career going 0-3-3 from 1963-64 through 1967-68. Ken McCauley holds the dubious distinction of not winning his first 15 games (0-14-1) for a wartime 1943-44 team that went 6-39-5.
“I’ve learned over the course of my career that I can only control what I can control,” said Hallak, whose team has scored a total of five goals in his five starts, before leaving the Blues for Seattle for Thursday’s Western Open four-round game. “I can’t control how many goals we score, only how many we concede.
“I go into every game trying to give the team a chance to win and I think I’ve done that for the most part.”
There was one poor start against Columbus at the Park on October 23, as he allowed one scary goal and another marginal one in a 5-1 defeat. Otherwise, though, Halak has a 2.77 GAA and .905 save percentage.
“It’s a long season,” said Hallaq, who won his first three NHL games after making his debut with Montreal on February 18, 2007. “Maybe if we score a few more, we’ll have two or three more wins, but you don’t have to worry about that. .
“I just focus on my game, and I feel good. I’m not frustrated or anxious. The wins will come.”
However, there was an obvious moment of frustration — or perhaps anger — when Hulk repeatedly hit his stick against the post after Dominic Kubalek’s powerful overtime goal gave Detroit a 3-2 win at the Garden on November 6.
“It was in the moment,” Hallaq said. “It was a questionable penalty and the way it ended, but it was just that game and the moment.”
Head coach Gerard Gallant has said he is not concerned with the increased ice time he has been giving his top players, most notably Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad.
“I don’t think it’s a problem,” Gallant said. “I would like to get more for the other guys sometimes but [the top guys] They play hockey well and as soon as I sit them down for a bit, they look at me like they want to get on the ice.
“That’s the problem we have with these guys, they want to be on the ice all the time and they’ll have their rest the next day in practice. You certainly look at the match sheet sometimes and see they play a few minutes too many, but it’s about winning now.
“We’ll get to the quarter point of the season soon. We definitely look at it all the time.”
The Blueshirts have a staff that constantly monitors the physical condition and fitness of the players and interacts with the coaches on a regular basis.
“Professionals don’t tell me [players] They’re so tired of looking at data all the time,” Gallant said. “They say they’re fine.”
Vitaly Kravtsov is back on the ice after missing the last two games with dental issues, joining Sunday’s second-line lineup of Artemy Panarin, Vincent Troshek and Barclay Goudreau to form a four-man unit.
“He looked great there,” Gallant said. “He was flying and seemed really healthy.”
However, the coach did not commit to reinsert Kravtsov into the squad on Thursday.
“I haven’t made a decision,” he said, before referring to Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Coyotes. “We played a good solid game and I liked the way the lines were going after the first half.
“But we have two days to decide and we have a training group [in Seattle]. “