Oct 12, 2013, 4:00 PM EST
The St. Louis Blues came into this year challenging Jaroslav Halak to take the No. 1 goaltending gig and run with it.
He’s accepted the challenge so far — and then some.
Halak’s a perfect 3-0-0 with a .948 save percentage and 1.33 GAA, earning high praise from his captain, David Backes.
“Best I’ve ever seen him,” Backes told NHL.com’s Lou Korac. “He’s dialed in, he’s competing and his work ethic every day — even at practice — is up a few notches.”
Over the past two seasons, St. Louis has been content with the one-two goalie punch of Halak and Brian Elliott. For the most part, it’s served the team well — Halak and Elliott combined to win the Jennings in 2011-12 for fewest goals allowed and backstopped the Blues to consecutive playoff appearances.
But for this season, the timeshare was nixed.
As per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Blues pushed Halak to be their No. 1:
The Blues believe Jaroslav Halak has to be their man. Gone in St. Louis is the politically correct spin that the Blues have two capable netminders and both will battle for starts.
The Blues have made a collective, organizational decision that this season is Halak’s to win or lose. They’re handing him the keys, perhaps for the last time, being that Halak is a UFA after the season.
Halak rededicated himself in the offseason, staying in St. Louis to focus on his workouts instead of going home overseas, and showing up to camp dropping his body fat from 14 percent to 8 percent.
And just in case there were any lingering questions about who’s net it is in St. Louis, the Blues are giving Halak his fourth consecutive start on Saturday against the Rangers.
According to head coach Ken Hitchcock, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Halak starts six straight to begin the year, though that’ll depend on if he can continue his hot play.
Dec 20, 2013, 11:12 PM EST
The latest round in one of the league’s great rivalries.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:54 PM EST
Winnipeg beat Florida 5-2.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:19 PM EST
The Rangers lost to the Islanders 5-3 on Friday.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:02 PM EST
He had about 100 loved ones on hand in New Jersey.
Dec 20, 2013, 9:48 PM EST
He managed the feat in 634 games.
Dec 20, 2013, 9:17 PM EST
A little improvement everyday for St. Louis’ captain.
Dec 20, 2013, 8:38 PM EST
His game misconduct hasn’t been rescinded, though.
Dec 20, 2013, 8:14 PM EST
They’re marketing it as “Back in Black.”
Dec 20, 2013, 7:53 PM EST
Reports indicate there was knee-to-knee contact with Mark Fistric.
Dec 20, 2013, 7:22 PM EST
The Bruins forward’s argument lasted five hours, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Dec 20, 2013, 6:39 PM EST
The Predators insist there haven’t been setbacks, though.
Dec 20, 2013, 5:12 PM EST
“It’s just going to take time,” said general manager Don Maloney.
Dec 20, 2013, 5:09 PM EST
“The replay shows I’m trying to get out of the way.”
Dec 20, 2013, 4:31 PM EST
“I think last night’s game is going to stick with me for a while,” coach Todd Richards said.
Dec 20, 2013, 4:07 PM EST
The play of 19-year-old Olli Maatta has helped the Penguins keep rolling.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:56 PM EST
“We didn’t have a belief we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” said a Denver DA spokesperson.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:51 PM EST
Also, Dan Girardi’s acting skills.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:26 PM EST
Leafs haven’t done well since the start of 24/7.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:06 PM EST
Should be in Saturday to face Toronto.
Dec 20, 2013, 2:42 PM EST
James van Riemsdyk scored on Mike Smith… we think.
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- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 14
- Assault charges against Varlamov dropped 31
- Carlyle on HBO presence: ‘It’s not normal what we’re living right now’ 5
- Orpik: First days after Thornton attack were ‘miserable’ 69
- Video: Dustin Brown ejected for kneeing, Tomas Hertl won’t return (update) 64
- No supplemental discipline for Caps’ Wilson 32
- Habs healthy scratch Briere for first time this season 7
- Chiarelli says he’s not trading Marchand 21
- Schenn to play tonight; Oates maintains Wilson hit was ‘totally clean’ 54
- Updated: NHL suspends Thornton 15 games for Orpik attack (155)
- Reports: Thornton will appeal 15-game suspension (107)
- Lucic addresses fight video, says he’s ‘disgusted and outraged’ by Vancouver (103)
- Cam Neely questions length of Thornton’s suspension (78)
- Video: Penguins defeat Leafs, Bortuzzo called for illegal hit to head (71)