Can the Blues win a Cup with Halak or Elliott Between the Pipes?

2/7/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Feb 6, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) blocks the net against the Boston Bruins during the first period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsWhen looking at the St. Louis Blues, there is no doubt that from top to bottom, they are one of the best teams in the NHL this season.

The Blues are third in both the Western Conference and the entire league with 82 points. They are dominant both at home on the road, have nine players with at least 32 points and five with at least 40 points, and are looking more and more like a Cup contender as the league inches towards the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With all of that said, however, there is one question about the Blues' hockey club that has yet to be answered. It is the answer to this question that will more than likely determine just how far the Blues go this postseason.

Do the Blues have the goaltending that is needed to win a Cup? Right now, that answer is no.

Blues' starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak is a talented masked man who has put up good numbers this season. In 39 games, Halak is 24-84 with a 2.26 goals against average, a .915 save percentage and four shutouts.

With that said however, the regular season means nothing once a club gets into the postseason. Since putting on a remarkable display of goaltending in the 2010 postseason with the Montreal Canadiens, Halak has played just two playoff games due to various injuries.

This is not to say that Halak would not be great if healthy in the postseason. In fact, in the two postseason games he did play with the Blues, he played quite well and went 1-1 with a 1.73 goals against average and a.935 save percentage.

Then again, Halak has not had a ton of playoff experience and is still not looked at as an elite number one goaltender. If the Blues are going to win the Cup this year, that is the kind of goaltending that Halak is going to need to give them and unfortunately for the Blues, Halak's game can be inconsistent at times.

Back-up goaltender Brian Elliott is definitely not the answer for the Blues. Yes, Elliott puts up good numbers during the regular season but come playoff time, Elliott's play dips in the wrong direction.

Due to Halak's injuries the past two postseasons, Elliott was between the pipes for 14 games. In those games, Elliott went 5-8 with 30 goals allowed and often allowed soft goals at the wrong time, which is something that can really hurt teams in the postseason.

If Halak and Elliott are not the answer, than who is? Everyone knows that Buffalo Sabres' franchise goaltender Ryan Miller is on the market but will the Blues be able to offer something to the Sabres that they cannot refuse?

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out come April, but with Halak or Elliott between the pipes, the Blues might not get to where they want to be.
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2/7/14   |   Scott   |   54624 respect

I'm not ready to give up Halak, Kevin Shattenkirk and either Dimitri Jaskin or Magnus Paarvaji for Ryan Miller.  Let's see what a fully healthy Halak can do in the playoffs first.