Halischuk Finding His Goal-Scoring Touch

Nashville's Matt Halischuk has scored a career-best 9 goals so far in the 2011-12 season.

Matt Halischuk scored his career-best ninth goal on Sunday night in Nashville's 5-3 win over Calgary. (Sarah Fuqua)

When Matt Halischuk was traded during the 2010 offseason from New Jersey for former Nashville captain Jason Arnott, he had one career NHL goal to his credit.

In his first season with Nashville, which was largely spent in Milwaukee, he had 4 NHL goals. Coming into the 2011-12 season, Halischuk’s reputation as a goal scorer consisted of two goals – an overtime game winner against Vancouver in last season’s playoffs and the 2008 clincher for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship.

This season, however, Halischuk has found his NHL goal scoring touch, as he put his 9th of the season past Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff on Sunday night.

“It’s great to score goals,” Halischuk said after Nashville’s 5-3 win at Bridgestone Arena. “Tonight’s was a great play by (Tootoo) and I was able to get the shot off there.”

In three partial seasons in the AHL with the Lowell Devils and the Milwaukee Admirals, Halischuk had seasons of 14 goals in 2008-09, 11 goals in 2009-10 and 11 goals in 2010-11. However, as many players can attest to, scoring goals against NHL goaltenders is an entirely different animal.

“I try to play hard and do the right things,” Halischuk said. “I try to play hard and go to the net. I’ve been trying to play that kind of game.”

Everyday I’m Halischuk
2010-11 Goals scored by Matt Halischuk

110/7/2011Blue JacketsSteve Mason
210/20/2011CanucksRoberto Luongo
311/3/2011CoyotesJason LaBarbera
411/8/2011KingsJonathan Bernier
511/17/2011Maple LeafsBen Scrivens
612/13/2011FlamesMiikka Kiprusoff
712/23/2011StarsRichard Bachman
812/30/2011BluesJaroslav Halak
91/1/2012FlamesMiikka Kiprusoff

Halischuk’s 9 goals make him second on the Predators in terms of goals scored, trailing only David Legwand’s 10. Nashville has a 6-3 record this season when he pots one and is 10-3 all-time.

“I try not to get to high or too low,” Halischuk said. “I try and play the same game every game and hope that the pucks keep going in.”

Nashville coach recognizes what Halischuk has been doing on the ice this season and cited it as one of his reasons for playing Halischuk over Craig Smith in the last 10 minutes of Sunday night’s win.

“Halischuk has had lots of jump and I think he has played pretty well for the last little while,” Trotz said.

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A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of PuckScene.com. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.