A ‘no-brainer’ — Elliott will start Game 7 for Blues

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Ken Hitchcock slept on it, then made the obvious choice — Brian Elliott will start in goal tonight for the St. Louis Blues.

Elliott, of course, was pulled in Monday’s Game 6, after allowing three goals on just seven Stars shots. Jake Allen came in and didn’t let anything past him, but then, he only had to face seven shots himself. The Blues lost, 3-2, sending the series back to Dallas for Game 7.

Suffice to say, it would’ve been a massive surprise if Hitchcock had gone with Allen tonight. Elliott has been mostly excellent in these playoffs, compiling a .926 save percentage in 13 games. That’s why Game 6 was Allen’s first appearance of the postseason. The backup hasn’t been required yet.

Still, Hitchcock refused to commit right away to Elliott, and that meant the slimmest of a very slim chance that Allen could get the nod in one of the most important games in franchise history.

“I wanted to talk to Brian,” Hitchcock told reporters today, per the Post-Dispatch. “Brian showed up at the rink yesterday to stop pucks, which surprised everybody. He wanted to go on the ice. I think he earned the right to go at it. He had a tough start to the game like our team. He had the tough seven minutes and paid for it.

“But he’s given us a chance to get to the Game 7 again and I couldn’t think of a better opportunity for him or for us. Really, a no-brainer to be honest with you, but I wanted to talk to him and be sure he was feeling good about himself.”

So, it’ll be Elliott. The same goalie who stopped 31 of 33 shots in that nerve-wracking Game 7 win over Chicago. The same one who has a .942 save percentage in the three games the Blues have played in Dallas. The same one who’d been lauded for his poise prior to Game 6.

Now, that Hitchcock made the obvious choice doesn’t guarantee that Elliott will play well tonight, but for those who believe it should be Allen, speak now or forever hold your peace.