St. Louis Blues middle David Backes (42) celebrates with teammates after scoring a aim towards the Dallas Stars throughout the 2d length in online game seven of the 2d circular of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American airlines core.(photograph: Jerome Miron, us of a today sports)
DALLAS - Wednesday's online game 7 illustrated just how promptly fortunes can change for goalies in the NHL playoffs.
There was St. Louis' Brian Elliott, who entered this decisive game two days removed from being pulled all over a forgettable online game 6 performance. He had allowed three early goals on seven shots and his educate wanted to "sleep on it" earlier than identifying even if to even beginning the veteran Wednesday.
There become Dallas' Kari Lehtonen, who entered video game 7 two days removed from a stellar efficiency. He saved 35 of 37 photographs, together with a game-saving one in the closing minute of rules to force this removal online game. If the primary video game 7 of his pro career turned into his large NHL litmus test, the 32-year-historic seemed equipped for it.
after which video game 7 became performed. St. Louis sucked all of the drama out of it early in a 6-1 victory, advancing to its first Western convention finals given that 2001. And the evening couldn't have long gone an awful lot improved for Elliott or an awful lot worse for Lehtonen.
"every so often it's very type for the goalies," Lehtonen said in the locker room afterwards, "and often it's now not."
Elliott did not allow Dallas' lone aim until more than five minutes had elapsed in the third length. His educate, Ken Hitchcock, observed he knew Elliott was poised for a soar-lower back gem of a efficiency in a pressurized circumstance.
"I knew yesterday when he (Elliott) got here to the rink, I knew what we had been going to get tonight," Hitchcock noted. "When he came out and stopped pucks, I knew he was able to go."
Hitchcock pointed out the uncertainty he expressed publicly over whether to beginning Elliott in online game 7 turned into legitimate unless he watched him cease pucks in observe. once he did, it turned into obvious that the online game 6 considerations were an aberration.
in spite of everything, this changed into a participant who had entered this video game with a .926 store percentage within the postseason this yr and who had stopped 31 of 33 pictures to aid the Blues close out the Chicago Blackhawks in game 7 of the first round.< p>Hitchcock believed his whole group turned into going to be sound mentally during this online game 7. What he worried about became the actual toll of this sequence and the previous seven-video game sequence. In that sense, pulling Elliott after just sixteen:forty nine of ice time in video game 6 may additionally have afforded him a good deal obligatory rest.
'I surely didn't play that a whole lot in (video game 6)," referred to Elliott, who allowed only one aim amid 32 Dallas shots Wednesday. "I simply wanted to get accessible (Tuesday in apply) and sort of reset the button. It just takes a little bit to get returned into the place you are comfy."
The Blues' Paul Stastny referred to there became never a doubt Elliott would beginning video game 7, adding that, "When a man's been using you throughout the entire playoffs, did he have a bad game? I don't believe so. Did he have one he desired to take returned? likely. but he changed into as focused as any individual. He was able to bounce returned. He handiest performs (16) minutes, I suppose it pisses him off a bit bit."
As for Lehtonen, his first video game 7 could not have unraveled a good deal faster in opposition t the massive, physical Blues. The Blues' 2d aim Wednesday became negated after a successful offside challenge by means of Dallas. just forty three seconds later, Stastny scored despite a extreme shooting attitude. within the final seconds of the length, Patrik Berglund scored from long range to go away the American airlines core crowd in a hush.
And with that, Lehtonen turned into pulled after one duration, permitting three goals on eight pictures. The damage was completed. Dallas instruct Lindy Ruff talked about afterwards that, looking back, he should have pulled Lehtonen even sooner. however Ruff became in no temper to check blame, rightly noting that the celebs did not take expertise of several offensive alternatives.
When instructed that his teammates stated that the celebs would on no account have even reached a online game 7 devoid of Lehtonen's season-long p lay, Lehtonen could best say, "I'm certain that's going to make me think enhanced afterward. however presently, it's just tough."
He additionally reminded the media that this changed into his "first crack at a video game 7. with a bit of luck there's going to be more opportunities to play in high-level games like this."
If he gets one more probability, his fortunes might alternate simply as all of sudden as Elliott's did in this game 7.
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