Oscar Pistorius sentenced:

Blues 2, Wild 0

The SportsXchange

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Brian Elliott stopped 23 shots for his third straight shutout and the St. Louis Blues won their sixth straight game, beating the Minnesota Wild 2-0 Thursday night.

Roman Polak scored his first goal in more than two years for the Blues. Andy McDonald also scored.

Niklas Backstrom had 18 saves for the Wild, who have lost six of eight. The Wild played most of the third period without defenseman Ryan Suter, who also missed some minutes early in the second period. There was no immediate word as to why.

The game was big for both teams who began the night two points behind fourth-place Los Angeles in the Western Conference, but just four points up on ninth-place Phoenix.

Thanks in large part to Elliott's excellence in April, the Blues have allowed just five goals during their winning streak. Elliott has allowed just four goals in the five games he has played.

After going 0-5-1 with a 4.56 goals-against average in seven games from Feb. 1 - March 5, Elliott did not dress for nine of 10 games as Jaroslav Halak and Jake Allen saw all the ice time, and even had a one-game stint in the minors on March 28. Elliott was pressed into action April 1 in Minnesota when Halak went down with a groin injury late in the first period. He was won four games since then, including three starts. He has not allowed a goal in 189 minutes and 31 seconds.

Elliott was rarely tested against a Minnesota offense that was blanked for the second straight game and third time in four outings. Chicago beat the Wild 1-0 Tuesday. The St. Louis defense did a good job of keeping Minnesota to the outside, keeping lanes clear for Elliott to see the shooter and quickly cleared away rebounds.

Still, Minnesota controlled play for much of the first two periods, but St. Louis got the lone goal thanks to a defensive breakdown.

Left alone in front midway through the first period, Polak took a pass from Chris Stewart, who fought of a check coming out of the left corner, and beat Backstrom high on the glove side. It was the defenseman's first goal in 121 games dating back to March 30, 2011.

Minnesota has allowed the game's first goal in seven of its last eight contests, after opening the scoring in 10 of 11 games.

McDonald gave the Blues an insurance marker midway through the third period.

Vladimir Tarasenko knocked Andrew Falk off the puck as the two chased it into the Wild end, and left it for McDonald. The center cut to the slot and beat Backstrom between the pads for a 2-0 lead.

St. Louis killed off all three short-handed situations, and has not allowed a power-play in 19 chances over eight games.

NOTES: After Friday's game in Columbus, St. Louis plays seven of its final eight games at home. ... Six of the Wild's final eight games are against teams currently below the playoff cut. ... Wild C Matt Cullen again skated Thursday morning, but missed his fifth straight game with a lower body injury. ... St. Louis C Scott Nichol also missed his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. He is considered day-to-day. ... Wild D Ryan Suter is trying to become the first defenseman since Brian Leetch in 2000-01 to lead the league in ice time, assists and points amongst defensemen. Suter currently averages a league-best 27:29 in ice time, and is tied for the league lead in assists (25) and is second in points (29). ... Entering the game, Blues D Jay Bouwmeester had three assists in four games since being acquired from Calgary.
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