Breaking News:
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey

Elliot backstops Blues dominant effort vs. Stars

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Goaltender Brian Elliott started only five of the St. Louis Blues' 23 games this season, but that lack of playing time has nothing to do with the quality of his performance in the net.

Elliott, who has split the goalie duties with Jaroslav Halak, stopped 34 of 35 Dallas shots on Saturday night and the Blues got goals from six different players in a 6-1 victory over the Stars.

Elliott raised his record to 4-0-1 when he has started in goal. In his five November games, he has allowed only six goals on 120 shots and he lowered his goals against average for the season to 1.79.

"You always want to get in there and fight for the guys and be part of it," Elliott said. "I think our strength as a tandem is we can push each other. Jaro is playing well and I want to play well so we can keep pushing this train forward."

Elliott accepted the challenge that comes with playing on a sporadic basis.

"It's finding that mindset game in and game out," he said. "Sometimes when you don't get a lot of opportunities it's hard to get back in that peak performance state. I think it just comes with experience and a lot of patience out there and just trusting your game. Try to play your game and everything will take care of itself."

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock appreciates having two goalies who have played the way Halak and Elliott have performed this season.

"He's just a good goalie," Hitchcock said of Elliott. "We're lucky. We have two good goalies who are at the top of their game right now and we're going to need them both. They are both going to play a lot in the next month."

The only goal Elliott allowed Saturday night came on a bouncing shot by defenseman Brenden Dillon from just inside the blue line at 10:53 of the first period that pulled Dallas into a 1-1 tie.

That tie lasted for only nine seconds, however, as the Blues won the ensuing faceoff and right winger Vladimir Tarasenko skated in and flipped the puck past stars netminder Kari Lehtonen.

The Blues, who also got a goal from left winger Vladimir Sobotka just 1:39 into the game, built the 2-1 lead despite being outshot 12-4 in the first period en route to being outshot 35-25 in the game.

"He made saves that kept them in the game," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said of Elliott. "The last 2 games the goaltending has been excellent against us. We outplayed them the first period and overall the game we played was not a 6-1 game."

The Blues increased the lead to 3-1 on center David Backes' 10th goal of the year 6:56 into the second period and then blew the game open with three goals in the third period, getting a power-play goal from center Derek Roy and two more goals from right wingers Chris Stewart and T.J. Oshie.

Lehtonen allowed five goals on just 18 shots before he was replaced by Dan Ellis after Stewart's goal.

"I felt I had a bad night," Lehtonen said. "They stayed patient and got a couple of opportunities and scored. There's going to be a bad game at some point and it came tonight. I just have to forget about this one."

The win was the 621st for Hitchcock in the NHL, moving him past Bryan Murray and into sole possession of eighth place for career victories. He is now 27 wins shy of Ron Wilson, who ranks seventh all time with 648 wins.

Hitchcock won 277 of those games as the coach of the Stars between 1996 and 2002, where he won the Stanley Cup in 1999.

The Blues lost right winger Ryan Reaves to a broken hand in the game. Reaves was hurt during a first-period fight against Dillon and is expected to miss at least four weeks.

"We're going to miss him but other guys are going to step up," Hitchcock said. "I don't think this is going to be something we can't overcome. We are going to miss his presence, especially in the locker room, and his physical nature but every team goes through this stuff. We'll find a way to move on."

NOTES: C Patrik Berglund returned to the St. Louis lineup after missing the team's last three games with an upper-body injury . ... LW Ray Whitney missed his fifth consecutive game for the Stars because of a groin injury. ... St. Louis LW Brenden Morrow played his first game against Dallas, where he played for 13 seasons, including seven as the team's captain, before he was traded to Pittsburgh last season and then signed with the Blues as a free agent in September. ... This was the first of five games this season between the Blues and Stars, now division rivals because of the NHL realignment. ... The Blues will host Minnesota on Monday night while the Stars return home to play Anaheim on Tuesday night.

Win cash prizes, pick a fantasy roster for just one day, join in minutes!

Learn how to play

Contest Entries Entry Fee Prizes Starts (EDT)
NFL $750K Baller 33054/85227 $10 $750000 Sunday 1:00 PM Enter
NFL $1 Single Entry 50/50 [Top 2,500 Win] 3082/5000 $1 $4500 Sunday 1:00 PM Enter
NFL $100K Tournament [$10K to 1st] 2387/4545 $25 $100000 Sunday 1:00 PM Enter
View Comments (0)