Jaroslav Halak had planned on being busy for an hour Sunday when the Blues faced off against Washington. So when he was pulled less than 20 minutes into the game, after surrendering three goals to the Capitals, he spent 40 minutes after the club’s 4-1 loss on a stationary bike. Halak’s thoughts may have been scattered as he pedaled away outside the locker room at Washington’s Verizon Center: The laser shot off the stick of Alexander Ovechkin for the Caps’ early lead. The rebound whack by Ovechkin for his second goal of the game. The second-chance effort by Mikhail Grabovski for a 3-0 score, leading to Halak’s removal. “It was one of the nights for me where everything seemed like it went in,” Halak said Monday. “We all have them. Life brings you challenges and that was one of the obstacles. There’s the next game and still plenty of hockey left, so I can’t let that one affect me. I just have to let it go.” Similar to his postgame ride Sunday, Halak encountered few bumps in the road during his magnificent start for the Blues. He opened the season 9-2-1 and carried a 2.19 goals-against average and a . 913 save percentage. But since his 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Nov. 9, Halak has gone 1-1-1, allowing three goals in each outing with a 3.95 GAA and an .816 save percentage. Overall, Halak is 10-2-3, but he now owns a 2.48 GAA, which ranks 23rd in the NHL, and a .900 save percentage, which is 34th in the league. The drop-off could have the Blues dealing with an array of thoughts as they prepare for a road matchup with the Buffalo Sabres at 6 tonight at the First Niagara Center. Have the past three games, which includes a 7-3 win over Colorado, been a hiccup for Halak, or should there be reason to worry about relying on him as the starter on a club with Stanley Cup aspirations? It all adds up to fascinating intrigue heading into tonight, when Halak goes up against the goalie who was speculated last summer to be his potential successor, Buffalo’s Ryan Miller. The Sabres sit last in the NHL standings with a record of 5-16-1, but remarkably Miller has a .919 save percentage, good for 28th in the league.
Blues still hanging hopes on Halak
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Nov 19