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Canadiens trade G Halak to Blues

NHL.com @NHL

ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Blues have acquired goaltender Jaroslav Halak, whose stellar play helped the Montreal Canadiens reach the Eastern Conference finals, for former first-round pick Lars Eller and another prospect.

The 25-year-old Halak won a pair of Game 7s and helped Montreal bounce heavily favored Washington and Pittsburgh out of the playoffs. He won three straight games and eliminated the Capitals by stopping 131 of 134 shots.

Both Canadiens goalies, Halak and Carey Price, are due to become restricted free agents on July 1. Chris Mason, the Blues' starting goalie the last two seasons, is due for unrestricted free agency.

The 21-year-old Eller, a center, was among of the Blues' top prospects. St. Louis also sent forward Ian Schultz, who was a third-round pick in 2008, to Montreal on Thursday.

"Jaroslav's play in this year's regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs was remarkable," Blues president John Davidson said. "He has had very impressive numbers in the NHL and we are thrilled that he will be wearing the Bluenote for us."

Halak, a Slovakian, was originally picked by Montreal in the ninth round (271st overall) of the 2003 entry draft. He was 26-13-5 last season and ranked fourth in the NHL in save percentage (.940), ninth in goals against average (2.40) and was tied for fifth with five shutouts.

St. Louis missed the playoffs last season and was just 18-18-5 at home, among the worst marks in the NHL. Mason got most of the starts in goal for the Blues, sharing time with Ty Conklin.

Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier will get two players who toiled mostly in the minors last season.

Eller played in seven games with the Blues in 2009-10, scoring twice. He spent most of time with the Blues' AHL affiliate in Peoria, Ill.

The 20-year-old Schultz played for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen last season. His older brother, Jeff, plays for the Capitals.

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