SUNRISE, Fla. -- St. Louis Blues center Alex Steen scored a goal for the sixth straight game in Friday night's 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers, and his success is a welcome sign for his teammates.
"The guy's unreal," Blues backup goaltender Brian Elliott said of Steen, who capped St. Louis' three-goal second period. "I think he's been one of the best players in the NHL for a while now. He does everything right on the ice."
Steen, 29, leads the NHL with 12 goals, even though his career high for a season is only 24.
"When stuff like this goes well for a good guy like he is -- one of the most-liked guys in the locker-room ... everyone's pulling for him," Elliott said. "It's awesome to see."
For Blues fans, it was awesome to see the way their team played Friday at the BB&T Center, routing and blanking the Panthers for the second time this season.
On Oct. 5 in St. Louis, the Blues beat the Panthers 7-0. In that game, Jaroslav Halak got the shutout and improved his career record against Florida to 8-1, posting a 0.75 goals-against-average in his past four games vs. Florida.
On Friday, the Blues rested Halak and still won with Elliott, who made 31 saves and helped St. Louis (8-1-2) earn at least one point for its sixth straight game.
It was just Elliott's second start of the season and his first win. The last time he played was Oct. 18 in a 4-3 shootout loss at Winnipeg.
"I thought we played OK, but I think Els (Elliott) was the reason we won the hockey game," said Steen, who deflected any credit intended for him and instead focused on Elliott, who at age 28 has 22 career shutouts.
"He made some timely saves and pulled out the 'W' for us. Last time (against Florida), we played more solid. Tonight, I thought we were riskier in our game. But Els was amazing and won us the game."
The Panthers lost their fourth straight and closed their season-long six-game homestand at a disappointing 1-3-2.
It took 15:41 into the first period before Derek Roy broke the scoring ice, getting his fourth goal of the season. His backhand shot beat goalie Jacob Markstrom, who did not play the first time the teams met this season. The assist went to Kevin Shattenkirk, his eighth.
The Blues made it 2-0 with 5:21 left in the second period. Chris Stewart, slotted way wide on the left, scored on a bad-angle shot for his first goal of the season. The assists went to Barret Jackman and Vladimir Sobotka.
Florida's defense let Markstrom down on the Blues' third goal just 1:45 later.
First, Jonathan Huberdeau was sent to the penalty box for two minutes for boarding. Then, the Panthers failed to clear a rebound and Alex Pietrangelo streaked in from the right side to get his third goal of the season. The assists went to David Backes and former Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
The Blues made it 4-0 with 10:42 elapsed in the second period on Steen's goal. The assist again went to Backes, his seventh of the season, as Steen took advantage of the traffic in front of Markstrom and pounced on a rebound.
"I was in the right spot at the right time," Steen said. "It was just a good break."
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen called a timeout after that, and his team managed to keep the score 4-0 the rest of the game.
"Tonight we probably had three competitive guys -- 17, 18 and 43," Dineen said, referring to center Jesse Winchester, center Shawn Matthias and defenseman Mike Weaver. "That's not enough to drag the whole group along.
"If we can't get everybody to compete harder than we did tonight, then we will just stumble along and get wins here and there. ... Our effort wasn't good enough to compete against one of the best teams in the NHL."
The Panthers went 0 for 2 on the power play, and Dineen said he will consider changing players, including call-ups from the AHL.
"We're going to examine all our options," he said. "We're at the point now that it's not about skill. It's about trying to find the guys who will give us the best effort."
NOTES: Blues C Maxim Lapierre returned Friday after serving a five-game suspension. ... The Blues recalled LW Chris Porter, 29, from Chicago of the AHL. ... When Panthers LW Tomas Fleischmann was sick last Sunday, it snapped his 148-consecutive-game streak. ... Panthers G Tim Thomas, who is hurt for the second time this season, has a lower-body injury. He practiced three times this week and is close to returning. ... Panthers D Ed Jovanovski (hip) was still out. ... For the Blues, LW Brendan Morrow (ribs) and RW Magnus Paajarvi (upper body) were out. ... Nine of the Panthers' next 11 games are on the road, including Saturday at Washington. ... Up next for the Blues is Saturday's game at Tampa Bay.