After winning the William M. Jennings Trophy and being the backbone of the St. Louis Blues' 49-win season a year ago, the barometer was set high for both Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott.

The duo allowed 165 goals in 82 games (2.01 per game) and captured only the second Jennings Trophy in franchise history (Roman Turek claimed the award following the 1999-2000 season). They combined for a League-high 15 shutouts (Elliott nine, Halak six), which tied a modern NHL record set by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1969-70 and surpassed the franchise record of 13 set by Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante in 1968-69.

Halak and Elliott are also the first tandem in NHL history to record at least six shutouts apiece in the same season. Elliott led the League in goals-against average (1.56) and save percentage (.940).

It was only natural to raise expectations.

The Blues, who face the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday in the NBC Game of the Week (12:30 p.m. ET), began well at 6-1-0. The goaltending wasn't a detriment but it also wasn't necessarily a difference-maker early.

Then as February began, the wheels began to come undone.

Halak injured his groin against the Detroit Red Wings which thrust Elliott into the spotlight. Along with the rest of the team, he struggled. Elliott's numbers, after being among the best in the League a season ago, tumbled to among the worst this season at 3-6-1 with a 3.65 GAA and .851 save percentage.

It got to the point where the Blues summoned Jake Allen from their American Hockey League affiliate in Peoria, Ill., to salvage anything possible.

Halak missed three weeks, and although his numbers (6-5-1, 2.14 GAA and .899 save percentage) aren't that bad, they are nowhere near what he's put up in his two previous seasons.

Allen responded by going 9-3-0 with a 2.33 GAA and .911 save percentage. He was thrust into the spotlight Feb. 13 at Joe Louis Arena in his first NHL start against the Red Wings and responded with a 4-3 overtime win that ended an 0-4-1 slide. The Blues were fading and needed some sort of uplift.

When Halak returned from injury, Elliott was eventually cast as the third-string netminder and that eventually lead to a stint in the AHL with the Rivermen. He got a start at Dallas on March 3 and relieved Halak on March 5. It would be nearly a month before he would see the net again.

"I don't think I was that bad," Elliott said. "You can't take all the burden on yourself, so I think the guys did a good job just keeping me up. I just tried to be a good teammate and when I [got] my next chance, that's when you want to get in and just do your job."

Elliott took his conditioning assignment well. He continued to work in the uncharacteristic three-goalie rotation in St. Louis as well as putting in extra time with goaltending coach Corey Hirsch before heading to Peoria to play a pair of games. He allowed three goals on 10 shots, then turned aside the final 46 he would see, including a 27-save shutout in a game against Lake Erie.

When Elliott relieved Halak April 1 at Minnesota, he stopped 19 of 20 shots in a 4-1 win. It was the start of a string of wins that resembled last season. The Blues, who won six straight before losing 4-1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday, gave Elliott the day off so he could be ready for the Blackhawks.