When St. Louis acquired goaltender Jaroslav Halak in June, he
was thought to be the key piece needed to help make a deep playoff
run next spring.
Atlanta, meanwhile, is relieved just to now have a healthy
Ondrej Pavelec back in net.
Halak will try to record his third straight shutout, and the
Blues seek their fourth consecutive win Saturday night against the
Thrashers, who are expected to have Pavelec start his first game
following an on-ice fainting spell in the club’s season opener.
Acquired from Montreal after helping backstop the Canadiens to
the Eastern Conference finals, Halak is 5-1-1 with a 1.55
goals-against average. He also hasn’t let a puck into the net in
150 minutes, 35 seconds since Chicago’s Brent Seabrook beat him in
St. Louis’ 4-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champions Oct.
“(Halak) is such a fun goalie to watch,” Blues defenseman Erik
Johnson said. “He looks like he is not even trying. He is so
effortless in his motion. There is no wasted energy with him.
“We feel so confident with him back there because he’s so cool,
calm and collected. We know we can go on offense and he’ll be back
there if we have any hiccups. He has been a great, great asset for
On Sunday, Halak made 19 of his 31 saves in the second period as
St. Louis (5-1-2) defeated Pittsburgh 1-0 in overtime on a goal by
Johnson. Facing Central Division rival Nashville on Thursday, Halak
showed no rust and stopped 24 shots in the 3-0 victory.
“It feels great, but I didn’t come into the game thinking about
the last shutout,” Halak said. “I was just thinking about trying to
help the guys win the game. It is even more special when it is a
St. Louis’ franchise record for the longest shutout streak is
186 minutes, 15 seconds by Manny Legace from Dec. 28, 2007-Jan. 8,
Last season with Montreal, Halak didn’t record a shutout against
the Thrashers (5-4-1). However, he beat them twice, including a
career high-tying 47-save effort in a 4-3 overtime victory Dec.
Pavelec will try to lead Atlanta to a season-high third
consecutive win as he’s slated to play his first NHL game since
fainting 2 1/2 minutes into a 4-2 win over Washington on Oct.
During a break in the action, Pavelec appeared to wave toward
the bench, fell backwards and suffered a concussion when his head
hit the ice.
“The last thing I remember (is) the national anthem until I woke
up in the ambulance,” Pavelec said Oct. 19.
He stopped 19 of 22 shots Thursday in an AHL rehab stint as
Chicago lost 4-1 to Oklahoma City. Pavelec’s only career win in two
starts against St. Louis came at the Scottrade Center on Oct. 8,
2009, when he turned away 29 shots in the 4-2 victory.
The Thrashers are coming off a 4-3 overtime win against Buffalo
on Friday. Dustin Byfuglien split two defenders and scored at 4:31
of the extra session after Atlanta’s Chris Mason – who Halak
replaced as the Blues starter – gave up Derek Roy’s game-tying goal
with eight seconds to play in regulation.
“I knew I was going to shoot for sure,” Byfuglien said. “I just
didn’t know where.”
The Thrashers are 5-1-0 with a tie in their last seven visits to
St. Louis after losing five straight there.