The St. Louis Blues beat the struggling Minnesota Wild 2-0 Thursday night as Brian Elliott continued his streak of consecutive scoreless minutes between the pipes. Elliott has spent much of this season as the Blues’ backup goaltender to Jaroslav Halak but has now won three consecutive starts with shutouts.
Elliott’s streak is now at 189 minutes and 31 seconds without giving up a goal. The 28-year-old last gave up a goal in the third period of a game against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 4th.
The Blues took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period against the Wild Thursday as Roman Polak scored his first goal of the season. Polak found the back of the net by beating Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom after a great pass by Chris Stewart.
Neither team scored in the second period as Backstrom made nine saves in the frame to hold off the Blues’ offense. St. Louis came out in the third period and were pressured early by the Wild but held tough and added an insurance goal just over nine minutes into the third.
Andy McDonald beat Backstrom through the five-hole with a backhand shot after Vladimir Tarasenko capitalized on an open break and got the puck to McDonald.
McDonald has scored atleast one point in his last six appearances against the Wild including his backhander on Thursday that gave the Blues some breathing room midway through the third period. Here’s video of McDonald’s goal that gave the Blues a 2-0 lead over the Wild:
McDonald’s goal would be more than enough as Brian Elliot took over from there and finished off the Wild. Elliott stopped all 23 shots he faced Thursday for his third straight shutout and now sports an 8-6-1 record on the season.
The Blues have now won six straight games and are currently one-point behind the San Jose Sharks for fifth place in the Western Conference. With nine games left for the Blues, they could jump as much as three spots out West as they only trail the third-place Vancouver Canucks by four points.
The Wild are heading in the opposite direction and have lost five-of-six games to start April. Minnesota is currently two-points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for seventh-place in the West and have yet to clinch a playoff spot.
Blues goaltender Brian Elliott won’t get much time to rest as they continue their four-game road trip on Friday with the Columbus Blue Jackets. With their defense playing it’s best hockey of the season, the Blues are determined to make waves in the upcoming NHL playoffs.
Will the St. Louis Blues depth and strength in net cause problems for the best teams in the NHL during the playoffs?
[Image via Creative Commons]