Goaltenders are odd guys. They get paid to let frozen objects hit them. And they lose their job if it
doesn't hit them. And you and I both know you pay a guy to be the workhorse and then have a backup.
The Blues do not have a backup goaltender right now. Of course the flipside of that statement is that the
Blues don't have a starter either, but I don't think that's totally accurate.
Just on pure numbers, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are really similar despite Elliott's blazing start and Halak's hiccups early on. First of all, they've both appeared in 20 games (Halak has one more start). That gives Halak just 33 more minutes played over the season so far. It's a time share. The other numbers are interesting to see how they compare. Even though he's played less time, Elliott has faced 27 more shots. He's also allowed 12 less goals. Four shutouts for Elliott vs. one for Halak will make a big difference, but it's not like Halak has horrible stats.
Elliott is allowing 1.70 goals per game while Halak's goals-against average is 2.26 - that's still 10th in
the NHL among all goaltenders. The biggest difference between the two is that Halak has skated off the
ice with a bitter taste in his mouth after overtime or the shootout five times and Elliott hasn't done it
once. But let's look at their recent play.
Halak is 3-0-2 in his last five games. He's allowed 10 goals in those five games. I'm going to get out the old slide rule and figure it out that...yes...that's two goals a game. Even when he allowed four goals to Columbus on Dec. 18, he still came away with a win. In those five games he's saved 93.5 percent of the shots he's faced in those games. But his competition...not exactly world beaters: Phoenix, Nashville, Dallas, Columbus and Nashville. The Predators are the toughest team on that list and represent the two shootout losses. Also, four of those five games were at home. That's important because the Blues are the best home team in the NHL. The Blues are one of two teams with 15 home wins (Detroit is the other) but the Blues have one more point on home ice.
Elliott on the other hand has seen his hardest stretch of the season. He's gone 2-3-0 his last five
games. In that span he's allowed 12 goals and stopped 91.9 percent of the shots he's faced. Here's the
competition: Detroit, Detroit, Phoenix, Colorado and the New York Rangers. He's played four straight
games on the road. Ken Hitchcock has ridden Elliott in the difficult matchups and played Halak when
Elliott needed either a night off or he knew the Blues should win the game. Like Tuesday night. Halak
played great. Against Phoenix in St. Louis. Yeah. Exactly.
It's the Blues. It's the Oilers. Feel the excitement. This is your game day thread. You know what to do.