Armstrong feels Blues can keep Halak, Elliott and Allen

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The Blues have something of a conundrum in goal with three guys — Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen — all capable of playing at the NHL level.

Some would suggest one of them has to go, but Blues GM Doug Armstrong thinks otherwise.

NHL.com’s Lou Korac reports Armstrong “doesn’t feel like he has to trade any of the team’s three goalies,” even though, over the weekend, he alluded to potentially moving some pieces in order to sign RFAs Alex Pietrangelo and Chris Stewart — all while staying under the $64.3 million salary cap ceiling (which the Blues are $9 million away from).

“I think we’re going to be able to get everyone under the umbrella,” general manager Doug Armstrong said, per the Post-Dispatch, “and if need be, we have very valuable pieces — if we have to move players, that’s not going to be an issue finding a home for them.”

It’s possible one of those pieces could be Halak, who’s been the subject of trade rumors already. Another could be Allen, the 22-year-old RFA that, like Pietrangelo and Stewart, still needs a new deal — and could be subjected to an offer sheet.

Folks are high on the former QMJHL Goalie of the Year, and for good reason.

The Blues took Allen with the 34th overall pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and he was rushed into action last season thanks to Halak’s injuries and ineffective play from Elliott.

Allen responded well, posting a 9-4-0 record with a .905 save percentage and 2.46 GAA, earning a spot on the NHL’s All-Rookie team — so it’s easy to see why St. Louis would be hesitant to trade him.

What’s more, Halak and Elliott will be UFAs next summer, and both have question marks about their ability to 1) be the clear-cut No. 1 and 2) carry that job into the future.

Halak has been an injury nightmare since coming over from Montreal, and Elliott has struggled with consistency.

When on their games, however, the pair can be a tremendous combination.

Halak and Elliott teamed to win the Jennings Trophy in 2011-12, allowing a league-low 165 goals while tying a modern record for shutouts in a season, with 15.

This is probably why Armstrong feels he can stand pat.

If the Blues return with Halak and Elliott next season, Allen can be dispatched to the American League, where he’d be the clear-cut No. 1 and could play plenty of games (he’s never appeared in more than 47 in a single professional season.)

Of course, St. Louis needs to get him signed first.

Ovechkin vs. Crosby shifts into high gear, Carlson clobbers Malkin

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You have to love when sports deliver on – if not exceed – the hype.

The second period of Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals has been brilliant and nasty, possibly more than many hockey fans dreamed.

It began with the Penguins getting the big edge; Sidney Crosby scored two goals in the span of 52 seconds and Braden Holtby needed to make some tough stops to keep it at 2-0.

MORE: Video of Crosby’s hot start

That put a damper on the great crowd at the Verizon Center for a bit, but the Capitals ended up responding.

Part of that was a physical response, with Dmitry Orlov delivering a big hit on Tom Kuhnhackl and John Carlson absolutely leveling Evgeni Malkin. The narrative got almost too obvious moments later, as Alex Ovechkin fired a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-1.

Fleury made a tough stop or two of his own once it was 2-1, so while the pace is picking up, the two goalies seem like they’re alert to the challenge as well.

There was plenty of nastiness with 18.9 seconds remaining in the second, setting the stage for what could be a thrilling third period … and maybe more?

Buckle up.

Video: Crosby scores two goals in 52 seconds vs. Capitals

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Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins came roaring out of the gate to start the second period after a 0-0 opening frame against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

Crosby scored two goals in just 52 seconds to give the Penguins a sudden 2-0 lead. One feels some pity for any fans who didn’t get to their seats just to start the frame … though in the likely event that they are Capitals fans, they might have been spared.

To Braden Holtby‘s credit, he made a couple tough saves moments later to keep it 2-0. It’s been a hectic first few minutes of the second after that relatively mundane first 20 minutes, so hang on tight.

Check out video above; you can also watch the pair of goals in the GIF combo below:

Penguins’ Guentzel makes ‘kick save’ to stop Capitals

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It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.

In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.

Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:

Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could be a team’s entire output.

That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.