Jaroslav Halak

St. Louis has a weird goaltending history


Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that, with a 3-0 shutout of San Jose on Sunday, Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak moved into second place on the franchise’s career shutout list.

/screeches tires


After some digging, it turns out this report is totally true. Even though three Hall of Fame goalies plied their trade in St. Louis (Glenn Hall, Jacques Plante and Grant Fuhr ) it’s Halak — who has been a Blue for exactly one year, seven months and 27 days — that just passed the immortal Roman Turek for the No. 2 spot.

Shocking? Well, not really when you consider what the future holds — four more shutouts and Halak becomes St. Louis’ all-time leader.

At the rate Halak is going, he could have the record by March. He has five shutouts in his last 10 games and boasts a 1.97 GAA (fourth in the NHL) with a .922 save percentage.

This tells you two things: 1) Halak is having a very good season and 2) The franchise’s all-time shutout leaders list is bizarre. Consider the top 10:

1. Glenn Hall– 16 
(A legend)

T-2. Jaroslav Halak — 13 
(Still feel like this happened too quickly)

T-2. Roman Turek — 13
(Along with Cechmanek, proved goalies named Roman aren’t trustworthy)

4. Brent Johnson — 12
(Now the backup in Pittsburgh)

5. Grant Fuhr — 11
(Was 33 when he went to St. Loo)

T-6. Mike Liut — 10
(Even though he leads the Blues in appearances, I refuse to acknowledge him as anything other than a Whaler)

T-6. Manny Legace — 10
(Just had a “Oh wow, he was their starter for a while!” flashback)

T- 6. Jacques Plante — 10
(Won a Vezina, got traded to Toronto, made the All-Star team. Good trade, St. Loo.)

9. Greg Millen — 9
(Remember when he played for Quebec? Yeah, me neither)

10. Chris Mason — 8 
(No. 3 on Nashville’s list!)

Meanwhile, ol’ Curtis Joseph — who played 280 games for St. Louis, second-most of all time — sits in 14th, behind both Jamie McLennan and Ty Conklin.

Speaking of Joseph, he’ll likely soon be passed by Brian Elliott, who in 26 games has as many shutouts (five) as Joseph did from 1989-95.

In conclusion, St. Louis’ goaltending history is weird.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.