Goaltender Jaroslav Halak was back in the Blues' locker room Tuesday, but unfortunately for the club it wasn't to suit up for what would have been Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Los Angeles.

Halak instead was among the players removing gear from their stalls following the Blues' second-round sweep from the postseason. Gear that Halak hadn't worn in a game since April 14 — Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks, in which teammate Barret Jackman inadvertently slid into him and led to what the club acknowledged is a high-ankle sprain. He missed the last seven of the club's nine playoff games.

"That's part of the game, the (crummy) part," Halak said. "It was tough to watch the guys. I thought it was going to take maybe two weeks to come back, but it didn't allow me to come back. Hopefully ... it won't happen again."

That won't help the club escape the disappointment of losing a key cog in its powerful goaltending tandem of Halak and Brian Elliott at the most critical time of the year. They captured the NHL's Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals allowed in the regular season.

"It was huge," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of the loss of Halak. "It was a big issue. But what are you going to do? That's just the nature of the game."