Brian Elliott Strong in his Debut
Brian Elliott’s first start as a member of the St. Louis Blues was a memorable one. With the team coming out of the gate sluggish in the 2011-12 season and questions already being asked about Jaroslav Halak, Elliott loomed large in net, stopping 34 of 36 shots against a powerful San Jose offense.
Chalk this one up as an unexpected win.
Though the Blues jumped out to an early 1-0 lead courtesy of Matt D’Agostini, this was a game mostly dominated by the San Jose Sharks through the first two periods. However, a very unlikely goal came from a rather unlikely place when Kent Huskins scored his first as a member of the Blues to level the contest just under five minutes into the third. Alex Steen gave the Blues a lead nearly five minutes later and David Backes recorded an empty netter to seal the victory.
Despite the late offensive heroics, it was Elliott in net that kept the Blues within reach of two points. Batting away numerous offensive chances, it was his huge glove save on Dan Boyle (video below) that summed up his impressive work in his debut.
In previous articles on this site I’ve mentioned how a goaltender needs to make big saves at key moments. A number one goaltender needs to regularly make crucial saves to keep his team within reach of a victory – something Elliott showed us tonight and something Jaroslav Halak has struggled to do with any sort of consistency.
Now, that’s not saying I desire Elliott to be the starter but what I am saying is he looked extremely sharp, athletic and poised in his first game with St. Louis. It’s far too early to predict whether he can keep that level of play going over a length of time, but it does turn up the heat a bit more on Jaroslav Halak. Further uninspired performances from Halak could spell more time on the ice for Elliott.
Goaltending discussions aside, it’s great to see the Blues pull out a victory when all signs pointed towards a defeat throughout a majority of the game. It’s encouraging to see the Blues fight back for two points but one must wonder why the Blues took so long to get rolling in this one.