Montoya gets start in hometown

The Islanders goaltender has been playing exceptionally well and earned the start in his hometown of Chicago

Friday, 12.2.2011 / 12:30 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Montoya gets start in hometown
In his crease, Al Montoya has been calm, composed and shown why he was a sixth overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He’s stopped shots from all angles, including a shorthanded breakaway from Thomas Vanek with 2:02 left in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres, preserving the Islanders 1-0 lead.
 
“The big save in the first period on power play break out cross-ice pass to (Thomas) Vanek was huge,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said of Montoya’s performance in the Isles 2-1 victory over the Sabres on Tuesday. “I thought they executed that play real well against us and he came up huge. Then in the 5-on-3, he made two or three consecutive saves on the back door.”
 
Montoya has led the Islanders to a 4-3-1 record in eight starts, earning a 2.07 goals against average, tied for 7th in the league, and .933 save percentage, tied for sixth in the league, with 18 goals against. Allowing just four goals in his last two games, Montoya has helped the Islanders string together their longest win streak since the first week of the 2011-12 season.
 
Al Montoya and Steve Staios defend against David Jones at the Pepsi Center on November 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Though Capuano didn’t say his Cuban-American netminder would get the start in his hometown of Chicago, he said, “He’s played well and given us a chance… I’ve liked the way he’s been playing.”
 
Even his teammates have taken notice of Montoya’s performance. Forward Josh Bailey said that Montoya has played a big part in the Islanders last two wins, limiting the opposing team’s scoring chances and allowing just four goals in the last two games.
 
“The biggest part of (our low goal totals) has been Al Montoya,” Bailey said. “The way he has played over the last couple of games and all season for us really. As of late, that’s been the key really, is goaltending.”
 
The Islanders have killed all eight of the opposing team’s power plays in the last two games (Buffalo and New Jersey) and Capuano credited Montoya with stepping up and making some key saves.
 
“It comes down to your goaltender,” Capuano said. “No matter what you do on your PK, there are guidelines, but there are a lot of shots taken, a lot of conversion to the net, a lot of second and third opportunities. (Montoya) made some big saves.”
 
Capuano may not have talked about the Islanders defensemen and penalty killers, but Montoya gave credit to the players in front of him, as Andrew MacDonald, Travis Hamonic and Steve Staios all had four blocked shots in the Islanders win over Buffalo.
 
“The team has been playing well in front of me,” Montoya said. “Last game I think we had 19 blocked shots so it is just a testament of everyone buying into the system. That makes everything easier on the defense and makes it easier on the goalie.”
 
I never thought this day would come. It’s here and it’s exciting. - Al Montoya
Playing at United Center in front of his friends and family, would be a dream come true. Though, Montoya said if he gets the nod, he hopes this will just be “the first of many” starts in his home city. Growing up, the Islanders goaltender loved watching the Blackhawks play.
 
“I remember growing up watching Ed Belfour,” Montoya said. “He was one of my favorite goalies, Eddy the Eagle. You had Chris Chelios, Tony Amonte… and I remember growing up watching those players play hockey, those buildings, always hearing about the old Chicago Stadium.”
 
Montoya added, “I never thought this day would come. It’s here and it’s exciting.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 76 34 40 -3 74
R. Strome 75 15 32 19 47
K. Okposo 54 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 75 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 76 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 70 23 16 12 39
J. Bailey 64 15 23 4 38
J. Boychuk 66 8 25 9 33
T. Hamonic 66 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 72 10 19 15 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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