Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott had a record setting season in 2011-2012, but how do they compare to some of the other great duos in Blues history. If Halak’s ankle would not have been injured and/or Elliott would not have soiled the bed against the Kings, the answer to the question would be easy, but since they did not get to the Cup, they are not guaranteed a win.
Since I’ve been an avid Blues fan (about the turn of the millennium) they have clearly been the best overall duo, with Brian Elliott’s 2012 season being the very best single season I’ve ever seen. Other notables duos that I enjoyed in the last twelve years include Roman Turek/Brent Johnson (2000-2001) and Manny Legace/Curtis Sanford (2006-2007). While the stats of neither of these duos is as good as Halak and Elliott, Roman Turek and Brent Johnson led their team to the conference finals (the farthest the Blues have gotten in a long time) before finally being defeated by the Colorado Avalanche who went on the win the Stanley Cup. Legace and Sanford managed to keep good numbers and keep their team respectable during a rebuilding stage when the defense was weak to non-existent. I still give Halak and Elliott the edge over these other modern duos.
To stir up the real question we must go way back in time and compare them to the historic tandem of Glen Hall and Jacques Plante in 1968-1969. Hall played more games during the season and fewer in the playoffs so we will compare him to Halak who did the same. Hall had a 19-12-8 record with a 2.17 GAA (save percentage not recorded). Halak in 2011-2012 had a record of 26-12-7 with a GAA 1.97 and a save percentage of .926. I give the regular season advantage to Halak and neither had significant playoff minutes. Now to compare Plante and Elliott. Plante had a record of 18-12-6 and a GAA of 1.96 during the season, and an 8-2 record with a 1.43 GAA in the playoffs. Elliott had a 23-10-4 record, a 1.56 GAA and a save percentage of .940 during the regular season but in the playoff his record was 3-4 with a GAA of 2.37 and a save percentage just above .90. Despite having better regular season numbers and breaking their combined shutout record, I must give the edge to the old timers because of the 8 playoff wins that got them to the Stanley Cup Finals. Maybe next year if the Halak and Elliott combo can get it done when it counts they will stand all alone as the best duo in Blues history.
If your curious on the worst duo check out the 2005/2006 year right after the strike – Patrick Lalime and Reinhard Divis. They couldn’t stop a beach ball shot by an enforcer from the blue line.