The day after snapping St. Louis’ franchise shutout record — you know, the one set by Hall of Famers Glen Hall and Jacques Plante in 1968-69 — Blues goalie Brian Elliott was still trying to process exactly what he and Jaroslav Halak had done.
“Obviously with the names that are there it’s pretty cool,” Elliott told the News-Democrat after recording St. Louis’ 14th shutout of the year. “You walk in the practice rink and you see the pictures up there with a couple guys in the Hall of Fame. It’s something to be proud of, but it’s not really what you play the game for.
“You play to win — and you play it as a team.”
Selflessness aside, Elliott has to be stoked about snapping a record held by two of the greatest goalies in NHL history. He now has eight shutouts on the year and a current shutout streak of 127 minutes, 45 seconds. Not bad for a guy that was almost out of the league this summer before signing a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000.
Halak, meanwhile, has contributed six shutouts this season and, with 13 since joining the Blues, he is three behind Hall’s franchise record of 16. Not bad for a guy that was terrible to start the year and seemed to clash with former coach Davis Payne.
The fact that Elliott and Halak have replaced Hall and Plante in the record books is stunning — especially to Blues goalie coach Corey Hirsch.
“It’s crazy, you know,” he said. “Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would go like this. We were hoping for a good year out of our goalies, but they’ve been phenomenal. Sometimes the hockey gods throw you a good one. They gave us Elliott and he’s been outstanding, and we’ve known Jaro’s been good all along. He’s taken his game to another level, too.”
But for all this whimsical feel-good stuff, things will get uncomfortable soon. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock knows he has to make a decision on a playoff starter, something he thought would’ve played itself out already.
“I expected a month ago that this thing would kind of air itself out and we’d figure out something, but it’s not,” Hitchcock said. “I don’t want to say it’s more complicated, it’s a good complication. But they’re making it hard on me because both guys are playing so good.”
For what it’s worth, the Blues went to the Stanley Cup finals twice with the Hall/Plante duo. In 1968-69 Plante played the majority (10 games to Hall’s three), then the two split evenly in 1969-70 (Hall played seven, Plante played six and Ernie Wakely played four.)