Feb 12, 2012, 10:01 PM EDT
It didn’t take Jaroslav Halak long to bounce back from his rough start against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. After allowing three goals before being pulled midway through that contest, Halak was back between the pipes on Sunday, this time against the formidable San Jose Sharks. Fortunately for the Blues, Halak stopped all 25 Sharks shots to earn his fifth shutout in his last 10 starts. Yes, from Jan. 10 onward, he’s averaged a shutout every other game. Halak’s run also means that, out of all eligible NHL goaltenders, the Blues netminders rank first and fourth in terms of GAA.
In fact, despite Brian Elliott’s All-Star caliber season, it seems like Halak has cemented himself as the Blues’ starting goaltender. He’s certainly the more likely of the two to start in St. Louis’ playoff opener, which could prove to be a critical subplot. Most remember that Halak led the Montreal Canadiens all the way to the Eastern Conference finals in 2010, so the question is if he can take the arguably superior St. Louis Blues even further. Or will he grow cold when his team needs him the most and possibly open the door for Elliott to make what would be just his fifth NHL postseason start? Of course, the St. Louis Blues haven’t even clinched the playoffs yet, but it would take a collapse of epic proportions for them to slip below the eighth seed at this point.
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