Funny how things work out. As the playoffs approached, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was undecided and non-committal about which of his goaltenders would get the starting call. The pair — Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott — combined for 15 shutouts during the season, splitting duties almost down the middle.
As it turned out, fate made Hitchcock's decision easy. With Elliott nursing a minor injury, Halak was the no-brainer pick to start the series against the San Jose Sharks. When the Blues lost the opening game 3-2 in double-overtime, some might have been wondering whether Elliott might get his chance.
Fate took care of that as well.
Just over a minute into the second period on Saturday, with the Blues leading 1-0, the Sharks rushed dangerously into the Blues' end. Halak came out to cut off Martin Havlat. But trailing Havlat, Blues defenseman Barret Jackman couldn't avoid slamming into his own netminder.
Knocked flying, Halak laid on the ice for several moments before getting to his feet and leaving the ice. He did not return — to the ice or the bench. Afterward, Hitchcock said Halak has "a lower body injury We'll evaluate him (Sunday), take him on the trip and see how it goes."
With Halak unable to continue, Hitchcock again had no options. Elliott came into the game and, as he has been all season, he was the perfect compliment.
Elliott steps in for Halak, saves the shutout
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Apr 15