Blues Return, Halak Stands Tall
Rust? What rust? The St. Louis Blues returned from the longest All-Star break for any NHL team and took a big 1-0 victory away from the Los Angeles Kings. Jaroslav Halak showed no signs of losing any momentum he had prior to the break, recording his 5th shootout of the season in an extremely impressive display.
Halak entered the All-Star break on one incredible run. In January, Halak won seven of his eight starts. He shutout the opposition on three separate occasions. With nine days off for the All-Star break there were concerns that Halak, Brian Elliott and all of their teammates might struggle getting back to action.
What an incredible display for Halak. On at least three different occasions Halak robbed prime scoring chances. With the net gaping open, Halak lunged out with his left leg repeatedly denying the opposition’s clear path and denying an easy goal. In a game that featured a solid performance from Jonathan Quick at the other end of the ice, Halak’s play in net was the clear difference tonight and the reason the Blues head to Nashville with two points in hand. You can see one of his huge saves below.
While tonight’s glory (and probably the weeny hat) belong to Jaroslav Halak, credit also should once again be paid to the defensive unit. The defensive unit has averaged 26.2 shots on their net so far in 2011-12. Tonight, they allowed just 22. A few of these shots were some dangerous, dangerous shots that Halak had to bail them out on but overall the defense again was strong and limited LA’s chances.
The team now heads to Nashville and has all of their toughest tests in front of them. We know this team can win at home. Now they need to prove that they can regularly win on the road.