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At the Rink blog

Hitchcock sticks with hot Halak in net

Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 3:06 PM

By John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Hitchcock sticks with hot Halak in net
NASHVILLE – The St. Louis Blues have an All-Star goalie in Brian Elliott, but it is Jaroslav Halak who is going to get the start in goal on Saturday for the second time in two nights.

Halak made 22 saves in a 1-0 win on Friday over Los Angeles for his fourth shutout in the last seven games so coach Ken Hitchcock elected to go with the hot hand for the key Central Division match-up with the Predators. Nashville trails second-place St. Louis by one point in the division.

Hitchcock also said he was setting up the rotation so that Elliott, a former Senator, would start play against his old team on Tuesday when the Blues visit Ottawa. Ottawa traded Elliott to Colorado for Craig Anderson on Feb. 18 of last year. St. Louis signed Elliott as a free agent.

“Easy decision, the shutout, obviously, and then we want to play Ells in Ottawa, so it works out good,” Hitchcock said. “He was really good yesterday, really good in the third period when we needed him the most, so we’re going to need great goaltending tonight to win.”

In other news, Hitchock said that center Jason Arnott would be a game-time decision. Arnott hurt his shoulder late in Friday’s game. Arnott is the former captain of Nashville and has yet to play a game back in Bridgestone Arena as an opponent. Nashville traded him after the 2009-10 season and awarded Shea Weber the captaincy.

Arnott was injured earlier this season when the Blues visited and did not return last season as a New Jersey Devil or Washington Capital.

Forwards Alex Steen and Andy McDonald also are currently out for St. Louis with injuries.

Here is the Blues’ projected lineup:

Vladimir Sobotka - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Matt D’Agostini - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
B.J. Crombeen - Scott Nichol - Chris Porter/Ryan Reeves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott
Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp