According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Blues will stick with netminder Jaroslav Halak when they host San Jose in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal on Saturday.
Halak was solid in Thursday’s double-overtime loss — he stopped 31 of 34 shots — but was overshadowed by his counterpart, Antti Niemi. The Sharks goalie stopped 40 of 42 for the victory and was showered with praise afterward (defenseman Dan Boyle called it “one of the best games he’s played all year.”)
That said, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock will go back to the 26-year-old Czech on Saturday, rather than hand the reigns to Brian Elliott. Why? Several theories, but no official reason (shockingly, Hitch was mum on his decision-making process) — one could surmise that Elliott’s not fully recovered from an upper-body injury he’s nursed for a week.
Another reason could be consistency. The Blues were preaching calmness following the Game 1 loss — alternate captain Jamie Langenbrunner said there’s nothing to panic about — and the optics of a goalie switch could send the wrong message.
The Blues out-shot and at times out-played San Jose in Game 1 and refused to hang the defeat on Halak, suggesting they were pleased with his performance.