St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak, left, of Slovakia, defends the goal from Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) By Brian Blanco
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the St. Louis Blues in their playoff opener against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
Coach Ken Hitchcock announced his decision Wednesday. Goaltender Brian Elliott is nursing an unspecified upper-body injury and he didn't practice.
Elliott led the NHL with a 1.56 goals-against average and nine shutouts.
Halak wasn't far behind with a 1.97 goals-against average and six shutouts. He is playoff-tested and won a pair of Game 7s with the Canadiens in 2009-10.