Ken Hitchcock's big decision decided itself.
It was no surprise when the St. Louis Blues coach announced Jaroslav Halak would start in goal in the playoff opener against the San Jose Sharks. After all, his other option, Brian Elliott, didn't practice because of an unspecified upper-body injury sustained about a week ago.
''Oh yeah, it's a big decision before Elliott got hurt,'' Hitchcock said. ''We're pretty hopeful he's going to be able to back up tomorrow and get himself ready but we're not 100 percent, so we made the decision really yesterday.''
Elliott led the NHL with a 1.56 goals-against average, nine shutouts and a .940 save percentage, and was the Blues' lone All-Star. Halak was fifth with a 1.97 goals-against average and six shutouts and is playoff-tested, winning a pair of Game 7s to lift the No. 8 seed Canadiens in 2009-10.
Their combined 15 shutouts tied the modern NHL record set by the Chicago Blackhawks in...