Blues Dominate, Halak Shuts Out Oilers


Halak, giving the Oilers -- and Brian Elliott's new contract -- his thousand-yard, killer stare.
  • Halak, giving the Oilers -- and Brian Elliott's new contract -- his thousand-yard, killer stare.
I don't think Jaroslav Halak was all that thrilled with the Blues extending Brian Elliott. In fact, I think his pure unbridled rage at finding out he was going to have to be sharing his net with that Canadian upstart for the next two years was enough to make him see red. Or blue, as the case may be. 

Or maybe he did like the idea. In fact, I think his delight at being part of a brilliant goalie tandem for the next two years was enough to send him into a terrifying whirl of pads and joy and Slavic curses. 

Or, well, maybe he didn't really give a shit either way and his indifference was enough to put him in a Fonzie-like trance of zen perfection. Removed of all distractions, he told the Edmonton Oilers to sit on it repeatedly as he stymied their best efforts en route to his second consecutive shutout. 

The world may never know. Or I guess we could just ask him. 

As shutouts go, it actually wasn't one of the more impressive ones you'll ever witness, at least from a pure goaltending perspective. This was not Jaroslav Halak standing on his head for 60 minutes, doing that whole "You shall not pass!" Gandalf thing. 

On the other hand, it was a perfect example of how great defensive teams shut their opponents out because it didn't require Jaroslav Halak to stand on his head for 60 minutes doing that whole, "You shall not p-p-pass!" Jimmy Valmer thing. (I'm linking to stupid things as often as possible before the internet is killed off by some poorly-conceived piece of legislature.) Halak only faced 15(!) shots on goal by the Oilers, making a badly-timed nap the biggest risk for the goalie. The Blues absolutely dominated Edmonton, playing defense as smothering as a Jewish mother's love all night long. 

The Note recorded 39 shots on goal. Think on that for a second. Thirty nine. How they only managed to beat the Oilers by a single goal is hard to comprehend. It took Alex Pietrangelo, aka the Biggest All-Star Snub in The NHL, getting pissed off with less than six minutes left in the game and using his Jedi powers to actually win the game, seeing as how the Blues had failed to get anything past Nikolai Khabibulin until that point. Why this team, filled as it is with players who like they at least should be potential finishers, struggles night after night to actually put the puck in the net in spite of tons of scoring chances is beyond me. 

Halak's scoreless streak now stands at better than two and a half hours, which may not sound all that impressive, considering you once amassed a seven month scoreless streak of your own before that heavyset girl with the club foot took pity on you, but in the goaltending world 153 minutes is the sort of thing you crow about. The Oilers are a very bad hockey team right now, sure, but to keep any NHL team off the board is an accomplishment. Jaroslav Halak has now done it to two teams in as many games, and he's playing the kind of brilliant hockey that -- regardless of how he feels about sharing the pipes with Brian Elliott for the next two years -- pretty much ensures the Blues' immediate future is very bright indeed. Like, Timbuk 3 bright. (I did mention the thing about the stupid links, right? Okay, good.) 

Now if the Blues could only get the Red Wings and Blackhawks to stop winning for a little while, everything would be just fine. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like either of things is going to happen anytime soon, meaning our boys in blue are just going to have to keep going out there and throwing up zeroes. Luckily, they have a pair of goalies capable of doing just that. 

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.