Down 3-2, with little over ten minutes left in the second period, Blues coach, Ken Hitchcock called upon Brian Elliot to relieve Jaroslav Halak. Elliot responded to Hitchcock’s move by pitching a shut out in roughly 35 minutes of relief work, as St. Louis went on to come from behind and defeat New Jersey, 4-3 in a shootout.
After surrendering three goals, on just 12 shots, Halak was pulled in favor of Elliot. Coming off a 28 save performance in his return to Ottawa, Elliot carried the Blues on their way to another road win. Elliot stopped each of the fifteen shots he faced in regulation and overtime. The Ontario native capped his bullpen detail by stoning snipers Ilya Kovalchuck, Patrick Elias, and Zach Parise in a shootout.
Tonight’s game was not about Jamie Langenbrunner’s return to Newark, nor was it about the Blues’ winning their three game road trip. Tonight’s game at the Prudential Center was, instead, a testament to the proficiency and flexibility Ken Hitchcock has found in net this season. With their win over New Jersey, the Blues showed the entire league that they possess an exclusive commodity for any playoff team: flexibility between the pipes. With Halak and Elliot performing at the top of their respective games, Hitchcock has the liberty of pulling goaltenders with no apparent drop off in talent for a backup.
St. Louis’ win in New Jersey was much more than two points in a heated divisional race, it was a reaffirmation that the Blues are in possession of the most reliable goaltending duo in the National Hockey League.