St. Louis Blues v Philadelphia Flyers

Update: Turns out Brian Elliott is the starting goalie in St. Louis

Earlier today, we posted about St. Louis’ up-in-the-air goaltending situation heading into tonight’s game versus Calgary.

Turns out it’s no longer up in the air.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Brian Elliott will get his fourth consecutive start, putting Jaroslav Halak — he of the four-year, $15 million deal (signed just last season!) — on the bench once again.

Halak hasn’t appeared in a game for St. Louis since Oct. 18.

“We know Jaro is a guy that we’re going to continue to lean on, he’s a good goaltender, and he’s going to get that chance to go back in. But right now, we’re making decisions based on what gives our team success tonight,” Payne said.

When asked of the decision to go with Elliot again was a no-brainer, Payne responded: “You want to get into my mind and talk about no-brainers? No, it’s just a decision based on performance and how the team is playing and what we feel he can give us tonight.”

Payne also added he’s not worried about Halak becoming upset over the situation because “he’s a pro.”

Look, this all might be much ado about nothing. A similar situation arose in Pittsburgh last year when Marc-Andre Fleury got off to a horrible start and Brent Johnson ended up carrying the mail into November. (There was one point last season where Johnson was 5-0 with a 1.16 GAA while Fleury was 1-5 with a 3.35.)

The biggest difference there? Fleury was clearly established as Pittsburgh’s No.1 goalie. He’d been a 60 games-plus starter for three years and backstopped the Pens to a Stanley Cup.

Halak doesn’t have that resume.

You also get the feeling Payne doesn’t have as much faith in Halak as Dan Bylsma had in Fleury. Bylsma was faced with an almost identical situation last season — in mid-October, Johnson had rattled off three straight wins against the Islanders, Flyers and Senators. But rather than ride his backup for a fourth straight contest, Bylsma came back with Fleury and the Pens won in overtime, 4-3 over Nashville.

To be fair, the Penguins had a little more leeway than the Blues. Whereas the Pens were a consistent playoff team, the Blues haven’t been there in two years. That makes it a little tougher to sit back and watch your goalie cost you points while he figures out his game.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky
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Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan

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Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?