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Brian Elliott’s strong argument for Blues’ No. 1 job: three shutouts in a row

Mar 27, 2012, 11:15 PM EDT

On Monday night, Ken Hitchcock admitted that the St. Louis Blues’ starting job is fair game. Deep down, the Blues brass might really want big-money goalie Jaroslav Halak to take it, but All-Star backup Brian Elliott is making it incredibly difficult to count him out with three straight shutouts.

The latest one happened tonight as Elliott stopped all 24 Nashville Predators shots as the Blues won 3-0, giving them an eight point lead over the Detroit Red Wings and a nine-point margin in front of Nashville for the Central Division title. (Yup, that’s about as close to “clinching” it as you can get.)

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Amusingly enough, Elliott’s first shutout didn’t result in a win as his shutout wasn’t as good as Jonathan Quick‘s in a shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on March 22. Even so, Elliott turned aside all 81 of the shots he’s seen in the last three games with a 186 minute and 33 second streak. That obviously makes it really, really hard for Hitchcock to deny him the playoff throne.

Here’s an interesting twist, though: Lou Korac reports that Halak will get the nod on Thursday.

It’s not a crazy choice because it gives Elliott a breather, doesn’t make things too hard on Halak and acknowledges the Blues comfortable playoff positioning, but it certainly opens the door for more “maybe too much of a good thing” material. For example: what happens if Halak gets a shutout of his own?

I know what you’re saying: poor Ken Hitchcock.

In all seriousness, though, who would you go with: Elliott or Halak? Or would you dare to continue the competition even as the playoffs begin?

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    I know there’s a lot to be said for the Blues’ system, but damn, that is a TON of shutout hockey. 3 straight, 27 shots on average. Very impressive.

  2. leeo00 - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    !!!!!!!!!ELLIOTNETMONSTER!!!!!!!!!

  3. geo91 - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Playoff hockey is a lot different than regular season, St. Louis has a lot to prove still and I’m looking forward to seeing how they handle it

  4. jmjdefiant1 - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Why is everybody obsessed with “primary” & “secondary(or backup)” goalies??? We have the best tandem in franchise history.(going back to 1969)These two work extremely well together. I say let them continue to support and push each other to accomplish even greater achievements.(Like the Stanley Cup)

  5. 22bju - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Well said jmj

  6. firstandonlywarning - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    The Blues as a team is just awesome to watch, the force nearly every shot to the outside. Both Blues goalies are not even making tough stops. At the end you figure “of course they shut them out”
    Rarely the D allows guys into front banging away, rarely is the initial shot tough that whoever is in net can’t control the rebound. They are making it look easy

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      Gahhhhh, why can’t the Jets play like this???

  7. timgodfreycomedy - Mar 28, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    as a st. louis boy and avid blues fan since 2001, watching my Blues get this good feels amazing. i think elliot and halak feed off of each others performances and sharpen each others skills by pushing one another. you cant have a starter and backup, theyre too good. mix them up and reel in the wins

  8. danphipps01 - Mar 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    You have to wonder how high a return Elliott would fetch if Hitch dealt him in the offseason. He signed him to a two-year extension, right? And at a rate that, say, the Capitals would be drooling over – only $1.8m.

    It’s not going to happen – Hitch clearly wants to keep this tandem for the future – but his system could make a lot of guys look this good, not just Elliott. It’s worth keeping in mind, especially if he goes with Elliott in the playoffs and the guy puts together a hot streak while everyone’s watching.

    Or he could just keep the guy and have the most absurdly broken pairing in NHL goaltending. Good problem to have.

  9. lostpuppysyndrome - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Go Blues. If there’s a team I want to win the Cup this year (the odds aren’t in favor for the Jets), it’s the Blues. Heck, they’ve been in the league long enough. Plus it’s another team that’s won the Cup more recently than Toronto.

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