The emotional angst that swept through the streets of Montreal last June when the Canadiens traded playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to the Blues only intensified when the goaltender sprung out to an 8-1-1 start with his new team.
Halak's success made Montreal's already unpopular decision to part with him and stay the course with Carey Price, who was underachieving by most accounts, made it easy for Habs fans to say "I told you so."
While Halak was being cheered in St. Louis for leading the Blues to a string of narrow wins, Price was dealing with boo-birds in Montreal after a subpar preseason. That prompted the No. 5 overall pick from the 2005 draft to remind his detractors that the Stanley Cup was never won in September.
The Price may have been right.
Eight months later, as the Blues and Montreal meet for the first time since the summer blockbuster that sent prospects Lars Eller and Ian Schultz to the Canadiens for Halak, the Habs' decision to hang on to Price now looks to have been the correct decision. Price has the most wins in the NHL this season with 32 and the sixth-best save percentage with a mark of .924, and he played in this year's All-Star game. Halak, meanwhile, had 19 wins and a .907 save percentage and had missed 13 out of 17 games with a hand injury before returning to the lineup Wednesday night in Columbus.
The early returns are being analyzed enough that this week, the normally laid-back Halak cautioned his team and his fans to be patient.
Halak will face Canadiens tonight
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Mar 10