Who knew that two teams in the top three in team goals against would combine for only one goal? Go figure.
The Blues started off a bit slow at first, but Hitch's defense showed no sign of rust from the break, and neither did Jaroslav Halak's left leg, which made three outstanding saves to pitch the shutout - he's fifth this year and fourth in his last seven starts. I'll say that again: Jaroslav Halak has FOUR SHUTOUTS in his last SEVEN STARTS! That's...uh...pretty good.
But to say that Jaro stole two points tonight wouldn't be entirely accurate. Sure his three kick saves (and one good looking glove save, to boot) were on great chances that the Kings probably should have scored on, but overall the Blues really controlled the flow of the game. The shots tonight were 33-22 in favor of the Blues, but even that is a little misleading. The Kings went long stretches without any shots, highlighted by the last 13 minutes of the first.
Even with 33 SOGs though, the Blues didn't have that many quality chances (or at least the Kings got the best chances, by far). That said, Quick was great in goal for LA, and frankly deserved much better than he got. Having seen many games like this from that perspective, it has GOT to be frustrating for Kings fans, let alone for Quick himself! Generally speaking, I like the Kings, so I hope that they do pick up the offense - just as long as it doesn't happen through a trade that takes an option away from us.
The Blues are back at it again tomorrow night in Nashville, the first matchup of the 2nd half between any of the Big Four, which I just now decided to call all the teams in this race to save time. Catch on, rest of the blogosphere!
3. Jamie Langenbrunner (game-winning goal on a very Hully one-timer from D'Agostini in the 2nd)
2. Jonathan Quick (32 saves, .970 SV %, really deserved a 'W' but thankfully didn't get one)
1. Jaroslav Halak (22 saves, shutout, 4-5 very skilled saves that were by no means easy)
Central Standings as of 10:00 CST on 2/3:
1. Detroit (idle) 71 points; 52 games played
2. ST. LOUIS (W 1-0 vs LA) 67 points; 50 games played
3. Nashville (idle) 66 points; 52 games played
4. Chicago (losing 2-1 @ Calgary in 3rd) 65 points; 52 games played
5. Columbus (losing 1-0 @ Anaheim in 2nd) 32 points; 51 games played