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At the Rink blog

Blues turn back to Halak against Panthers

Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 2:40 PM

By Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Blues turn back to Halak against Panthers
ST. LOUIS -- Despite leading the NHL in goals-against average (1.43) and holding down second in save percentage (.946), Brian Elliott will take a seat as Jaroslav Halak will get back in goal for the Blues tonight against the Florida Panthers.

Halak, who is 2-6-1 with a 2.78 GAA and .882 save percentage, hasn't played in a week when the Blues dropped a 3-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout.

"Obviously I'm looking forward to get in," Halak said. "I know it's not going to be easy. Florida has been playing really good hockey on the road this season. We need to be ready for that and for their tempo. We need to try and create our tempo and be ready."

Both goalies are now into form. Elliott's been solid all season, and Halak, after an inauspicious beginning, seems to be finding his game as well. Blues coach ken Hitchcock seems to have a problem in goal -- a good problem.

"I'm happy with both guys," said Hitchcock, whose team is 9-7-1 overall and 3-0-1 since his arrival. "We get into these debates in here, I don't know what everybody's thinking. When both guys are playing well, it's pretty easy for me who goes.

"When they're both playing good, just play them."

The netminders seem to push each other on off-days, which is creating that proverbial healthy competition, and the players are thriving off of it themselves.

"It is good for our team," Halak said. "Brian has been getting the wins for us. It's great every time you get a win. When you have competition, it makes it better for both of the goalies. They both want to play.

"You need to work hard every practice and every game you play. You need to give it the best you have and that's what it's all about."

Quote of the Day

They said, 'You're going to love the city. It's smaller than Philadelphia, but you're going to love it. You're going to love the fans. Just watching the playoffs last year, the fans seemed louder there than they did anywhere. I'm really excited about that.

— Forward Scott Hartnell on his upcoming season with the Columbus Blue Jackets