Jaroslav Halak

So, who’s the starting goalie in St. Louis?

The St. Louis Blues are facing something of a goaltending conundrum heading into tonight’s game against Calgary. The plan was to start Jaroslav Halak (the nominal No. 1 that hasn’t played since Oct. 18), but adhering to that plan would require sitting the red-hot Brian Elliott (who’s posted a 4-0 record with a 1.59 GAA and .950 save percentage).

Clearly, not an easy decision to make. And according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Blues head coach Davis Payne is in no rush to make it.

“Well, you know you’re dealing with a guy that’s feeling pretty good, so you want to maximize that,” Payne said. “But we also know that Jaro is an important part and we want to make sure that he has an opportunity to get his game going. We factor all of that stuff in and ultimately make a decision. We’ll let you know (today).”

We discussed Halak’s struggles to start the year in last week’s Wake-Up Call, but erroneously discounted Elliott as a viable alternative for the Blues’ starting gig. C’mon though, that’s not our fault. He looked awful with Ottawa and Colorado last year and signed a bargain-basement deal ($600k) just to compete for St. Louis’ backup job. That’s what St. Louis’ brass figured the deal was, anyway — when Elliott signed, Blues GM Doug Armstrong said the club was “looking for a goaltender to come in and compete with Ben Bishop for the second spot behind Halak.” At no time did Armstrong say the hopes were for Elliott to steal Halak’s starting gig before November. That would’ve been pretty far-fetched.

Yet here we are.

Speculation suggests Payne might ride Elliott until the bubble bursts, something the 26-year-old netminder is familiar with. Traditionally, he’s a streaky performer — with Ottawa in 2009-10, Elliott put together a career-best nine-game winning streak and a six-game winning streak as well.

Of course, he eventually relinquished the starting gig to Pascal Leclaire in the playoffs and flamed out miserably the following year.

“Obviously, you want to get in there as much as you can,” Elliott said Thursday. “It’s always fun and trying to be the guy to be in there and help the guys win … that’s my goal for sure. (But) it’s up to them. I just take it in stride and every time you get in, just try to win.”

Will Elliot get in tonight? The way things are going, we might not find out until the pregame warmup.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then:

Sending a message: Flames scratch Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma

Calgary Flames' Sean Monahan, left, celebrates his goal with teammate Johnny Gaudreau during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes in an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau figure to be a big part of the Calgary Flames’ forward group, both in the present and the future.

That said, it the very specific present, they’ll be watching Tuesday’s game from the press box.

After an unsatisfactory practice amid flailing playoff hopes, Flames head coach Bob Hartley made a big statement tonight, taking Monahan, Gaudreau and Lance Bouma out of the lineup as healthy scratches against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wow.

It’s amusing timing, too, as the Maple Leafs will roll with a bit of a skeleton crew of their own after that splashy Dion Phaneuf trade.

Some background

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector was there for the practice, which was unusually short at 25 minutes.

“He wasn’t happy with the way we were practicing,” David Jones told Spector. “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.

“I think he was pretty pissed off about the way things were looking.”

Call it a combination of poor execution and maybe a tardy arrival … perhaps from a Super Bowl party or two?